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February 22, 1999


SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. George H. Ryan proposed nearly $100 million in funding for technology initiatives and announced today the creation of the Illinois Technology Office.

Ryan pledged during last year's campaign for governor, to create the Commission as a resource to provide leadership and vision in a digital global network.

Ryan said the technology office will be responsible for managing technological innovation in state government, improving public service and standardizing operations among state agencies. The office will conduct a state government technology inventory; develop a government-wide strategic information management plan; establish centralized technology purchasing policies to ensure linkage and compatibility throughout the government; ensure that agencies use technology effectively to improve governmental performance; and assume leadership of the state's efforts to address "Year 2000" compliance challenges.

"Here in Illinois, we have the finest technological resources in the country and we have a unique opportunity to invest in even more innovative ideas," Ryan said. "It should also be our goal to provide basic technological advances to each state agency so that they are able to communicate with each other and provide services to the public in the most efficient ways possible."

In his first state budget proposal, Ryan proposed about $56 million for the Governor's Technology Initiative for K-12 education and about $25 million for higher education, including funding for the Illinois Century Network. He included an additional $5.25 million for the Technology Challenge Grant program and $10 million for the Technology Development Bridge program.

Ryan's budget also recommended $1 million to create the Illinois Technology Enterprise Corporation. ITEC, overseen by the Illinois Coalition, will provide regional, privately-managed centers to promote technology transfer from the state's major research universities. "This would help businesses to develop high-quality research proposals for federal grants, as well as build technology infrastructures throughout the state," he said.

Ryan also announced the formation of the Illinois Year 2000 Preparedness Council to ready government and business for January 1, 2000. "Preparing for the new millennium is one of my top priorities. I am calling upon this Council to work with the Technology Office because we need an accurate assessment of where we are in exterminating the Y2K bug," Ryan said.

All state agencies are making adjustments in computer operations to address the issue of Y2K so that it does not cause disruptions in state services or programs.

Last week, Ryan announced the appointment of Mary Barber Reynolds of Pleasant Plains as his Chief Technology Officer. Reynolds, 36, helped to develop state technology efforts in the lieutenant governor's office, in addition to serving as executive director of the Illinois Science and Technology Advisory Committee.

"My office will provide leadership and vision to integrate technology in state government and create an environment for innovation," Ryan said.


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