An app that would let New Jerseyans access state government services easily, a student loan forgiveness program for tech-related careers, and high-speed internet access throughout the state are just part of the future that a gubernatorial transition committee envisions for New Jersey.
The Government Technology and Innovations Transition Advisory Committee report to Gov. Phil Murphy makes 16 recommendations ranging from improving public access to the internet and government services to enhancing New Jersey's tech reputation. Several comport with promises the governor made on the campaign trail - Murphy called it "reclaiming the innovation economy."
He has already begun to implement one recommendation, to maintain net neutrality in the state. But some of the suggestions may be expensive, particularly given Murphy's already ambitious and costly agenda. For instance, the report's very first recommendation is to upgrade the state's information technology within six months, saying this "should be a top priority."
The state Office of Information Technology currently provides all IT services for the executive branch, has a budget of $158 million, and employs 629 people, according to its website.
"New Jersey's government infrastructure is severely outdated, and the state struggles to coordinate services with town and county governments," the report states. "Although the State recently attempted to switch some applications to public cloud technology, many of its applications still use mainframe storage and processing. Meanwhile, many other states - including Utah, Illinois, and Ohio - have adopted a cloud-first strategy ... This administration should immediately assess its biggest choke points and vulnerabilities, and determine its strategy to modernize state hardware systems."