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Legislative sessions ending; AL, FL, NV, TN budgets reviewed

June 15, 2017

As more state legislatures are coming to the close of their sessions, more state budgets are being finalized. This week SSTI takes a look at the final appropriations for Alabama, which is decreasing its innovation funding in higher ed; Florida, whose governor signed a budget after vetoing more than $20 million in STEM, higher ed, R&D and other innovation funding; Nevada, with positive news in technology-based economic development funding; and Tennessee, where the Department of Economic and Community Development’s state funding is down by more than 27 percent compared to FY 2017.

Alabama

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed both the state’s general fund bill (HB155) and the education bill (SB129) for FY 2018. Within the state’s education budget, the Alabama Technology Network will receive $4.9 million. The Alabama Innovation Fund will receive $2.4 million – a 17.2 percent decrease from FY 2017. The fund operates two programs: a renewal program, which helps support university high technology infrastructure, and a research program, which allocates funding for commercialization and university-industry partnerships. Other efforts included in the education budget:

  • $29 million for the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative;
  • $2.7 million to the University Alabama for the Technology Innovation Incubator Program;
  • $450,000 to Faulkner State Community College for its technology and manufacturing training program;
  • $350,000 to Calhoun Community College for the Innovation Center Project; and,
  • $250,000 to support a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) Pilot Project at the state’s community colleges.

Florida

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed the FY 2018 budget (SB 2500), after announcing a $410 million slate of line-item vetoes including more than $20 million in funding that would support STEM education, higher ed, R&D and innovation.  Funding for innovation economy initiatives that were not vetoed by the governor include:

  • $12.5 million (a 28.6 percent decrease from FY 2017) for Space Florida;
  • $5.5 million (22 percent increase) for the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research;
  • $9.1 million (2.2 percent decrease) for the International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research;
  • $2 million (60 percent decrease) for the Florida Polytechnic University’s Applied Research Center
  • $500,000 (25 percent increase) for MEP’s FloridaMakes center; and,
  • $1 million for the Florida Atlantic University-Scripps Biotech Translation Research Partnership.

Nevada

The FY 2017 and FY 2018 biennial budget signed by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval will increase funding across several key technology-based economic development programs:

  • Within the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), Nevada’s Knowledge Fund, which seeks to spur research and commercialization around key industry areas, will receive $5 million in each year of the biennium. This represents a combined 8.7 percent increase from the previous biennium.
  • The state’s Office of Science, Innovation, and Technology will receive approximately $8.0 million in total during the biennium, a combined 37.5 percent increase from the previous biennial budget. This office is responsible for coordinating and aligning efforts of K-12, higher education, workforce development, and employers around STEM and broadband infrastructure.
  • The budget will provide $191,556 in new funding over the biennium for the Office of Workforce Innovation within the office of the Governor. This office is responsible for developing statewide strategies to ensure that new and existing industry employers can recruit Nevadans for skilled jobs and apprenticeships.

Tennessee

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed the state’s FY 2018 budget (HB 511) with $187 million in total funding allocated to the Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) – a 27.6 percent increase from FY 2017. Activities supported through the TNECD appropriation include:

  • $30 million for the TNInvestco Tax Credits to cover the portion of the original $200 million tax credits that are expected to be claimed during FY 2018;
  • $2 million for Development District Grants to support activities related to planning and other development services as well as solve common problems associated with economic development and growth.
  • $1.5 million for the Tennessee Job Skills Program to support the creation and retention of high wage jobs with a focus on targeted industries such as high-technology areas, emerging occupations, or skilled manufacturing jobs; and,
  • $200,000 for innovation programs.

Other innovation economy initiatives include:

  • The 27 institutions that comprise the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology system will receive $65.5 million (7.9 percent increase);
  • The Tennessee Department of Education will receive $17.5 million (2.4 percent increase) for the state’s Centers of Excellence Program to build upon the research strengths of the University of Tennessee (UT) system schools by helping each institution expand their research capacity in a targeted research area with the intent of increasing the state’s economic competitiveness;
  • The Tennessee Department of Education also will receive $1.3 million (3.1 percent increase) appropriated for the Campus Centers of Emphasis Program to build the research capacity of the state’s community colleges system by supporting R&D related activities at individual community colleges in targeted research areas; and,
  • The University of Tennessee’s (UT) Space Institute will receive $8.8 million (4.1 percent increase). 
Alabama, Florida, Nevada, Tennesseestate budgets