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What Fresno can expect from the State of the Union

With President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address just days away, political pundits are already analyzing not only every word he might say, but how the things he say will affect the nation. But what about the local aspect?
The true purpose of the State of the Union address, mandated by Congress, was to give legislators an update on how the country was doing. It has evolved into a presidential wish list, an aggressive accounting of items the president wants to accomplish and how much further the country needs to go. It allows the legislators to understand the actions and agenda the administration wants and gives the nation an update on not only what’s been done, but also what is to come. Usually State of the Union addresses are keyed around major policy initiatives.
Recent reports from media outlets say the President will put the domestic agenda first, focusing on the economy, jobs, and other domestic policy items such as healthcare reform. A major policy initiative is expected around jobs and the economy as well as help for the middle class.
With jobs being an important part of the State of the Union, Fresno County and the State of California can expect federal funds to be earmarked in the coming year and especially for the next budget year starting in October to projects with a potential to maximize job creation. For the County of Fresno, that means money to help clear budget hurdles for the California High Speed Rail and funds to help offset county and state costs for construction of a heavy maintenance facility in the county.
Green jobs and job creation create a multifaceted approach for the President’s agenda, decreasing reliance on foreign fuels correlates to an increase in national security, a sticking point these days on both sides of the aisle, as well as improving the economy and getting people back to work. Look for opportunities that the county, city, and state will be able to use federal funds, subsidies, or tax breaks to bring more biofuel facilities and increase usage of Valley farmland for ethanol in the region.
Another expectation for residents in Fresno County is offering tax breaks or federal subsidies to get major companies to increase hiring and preventing more lay-offs, which would help in areas in and around the county with chronic unemployment.
Also look for incentives and policy packages for education, such as loan forgiveness for either teaching or public service, earmarks for federal financial aid, and teacher stimulus or budgets to prevent enrollment cuts. In a state where the government has had to take over school districts, a strong education plank on the domestic agenda will provide well funded programs to help push California schools back to the top in education and student success.
The State of the Union address could bring millions of dollars into the county of Fresno. Tune in and watch as how the President’s plan and the Republican response to learn where the next years major policy initiatives could be directed, and in no time at all funds could be used to see job creation, a stronger middle class, and better school districts in and around Fresno County.


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