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OH, TN, TX, state budgets focus on innovation, R&D, education

February 02, 2017

SSTI continues to review state budget proposals as they are released, combing through them for TBED-related initiatives. This week, education and research and development programs are revealed as we examine the budget proposals from governors in Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.

Ohio

Gov. John Kasich’s $144 billion FY 2018-2019 biennial budget proposal would reduce the income tax while raising other taxes such as sales, tobacco, alcohol, and natural gas. The Governor also emphasizes making Ohio’s economy more technology-focused, according to the Dayton Business Journal.

Notably, Kasich’s budget would provide $750,000 to create The Ohio Institute of Technology (OIT), a new office that would focus on technology development across several industries where the state has strengths: aerospace, biomedical, engineering, robotics and smart mobility. Located in the Governor’s Office, the OIT would be led by a new Chief Innovation Officer.

Kasich proposes investing $20 million in state funds for the Phase 1 expansion of the Transportation Research Center's (TRC) new 540-acre Smart Mobility Advanced Research and Test (SMART) Center, which would be matched by $25 million in funding from Ohio State University.  The governor hopes to use the state’s transportation budget, which is separate from the general budget, to focus on smart mobility. This would include funding for two additional “smart highways” in Ohio on Interstate 270 around Columbus and I-90 in Northeast Ohio, according to the Toledo Blade.

The governor’s proposed budget would restructure funds within the Ohio Third Frontier initiative to consolidate three programs:  Third Frontiers’ Internship Program, which would receive no funding in the biennium; Research and Development Projects, which would receive $35 million in each year of the biennium; and Research and Development Taxable Bond Projects, which would receive $90.9 million in each year of the biennium.

Additional proposed measures related to technology-based economic development include:

  • The Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center would receive $5.5 million in each year of the biennium, a 2.6 percent increase from FY 2017;
  • The state’s Technology Programs and Grants would receive $14.0 million in FY 2018 (a 9.7 percent decrease from FY 2017) and $13.8 million in FY 2019; and,
  • Investments in the Innovation Ohio program ($10 million in each year of the biennium), Research and Development Loans ($10 million in each year of the biennium), and the Biomed Research and Technology Transfer Trust Fund ($500,000 in each year of the biennium) would be unchanged from FY 2017. 

Tennessee

Gov. Bill Haslam’s budget calls for $78 million for “higher education and the Complete College Act.” In his budget proposal, Gov. Haslam intends to expand the Complete College Act – a program that currently allows adults in Tennessee without a post-secondary degree to attend Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology tuition free – to include the state’s community colleges.

The budget also would provide $216.3 million for the Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD), including $30 million for TNInvestco tax credits. Within the TNECD budget, innovation programs would receive $200,000. The budget also calls for $3 million to fund advanced manufacturing research at Oak Ridge.

Gov. Haslam also proposes $45 million in grants and tax credits over three years to encourage commercial broadband expansion to rural areas.

Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott’s budget seeks to address the state’s projected deficit, increase security spending and decrease taxes. Amid these priorities, general revenue funding for business and economic development is declining by approximately 50 percent to $537 million, although the state projects a net increase for the office when all funds are considered. The budget does not specify any economic development activities related to innovation.

In line with Gov. Abbott’s previous budget, relevant investments are planned in the education budget. Funding will be continued for the 60x30TX plan to better-align education with employers’ needs and for the Governor’s University Research Initiative to recruit “transformative researchers” to the state ($40 million). New education spending includes an additional $25 million that will unlock $200 million of federal funds for primary and secondary school broadband access and $500 million for “special items” that will support excellence, innovation, research and education at the state’s universities, but there is no mention if last year’s Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas investment — or any specific project — is included in this funding.

Ohio, Tennessee, Texasstate budgets