“Nevertheless, Washington innovation is thriving by several measures …
“How does Washington reconcile the tech sector’s continued success with the paltry investment in generating talent, the key input to innovation economies?
“It’s no secret that Washington has been a leader in attracting smart, entrepreneurial people for generations, from Boeing to Bezos to Barton. It consistently ranks among the top states for in-migration of people with college degrees.
“Anecdotal support abounds. In an informal poll of the nearly 800 technology executives in the audience Wednesday, a very large chunk — perhaps half the people in the room—identified themselves as ‘imports.’
“Rich Barton, the serial entrepreneur behind Expedia, Zillow, and GlassDoor, said in an on-stage interview at the event that he too is an import.
“While money isn’t necessarily the only solution, Washington is clearly underfunding education relative to its peer states.
“‘That’s ridiculous. We’re a high-tech state. We’re a wealthy state. I can’t believe that’s going on, and I don’t really understand why,’ Barton said.
“But when he expressed his support for a state income tax to fund education, and the audience was asked if they agreed, only a few hands went up.”
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