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Kansas reveals first economic development plan in 30 years, shifts focus to innovation

Last month, Gov. Laura Kelly (D), alongside former state governors Mike Hayden (R) and John Carlin (D), and the Lt. Gov. and Secretary of Commerce David Toland, announced “Framework for Growth”, the state’s first economic development plan in over 30 years. The plan, which was a year in the making, is a collaborative effort that involves input from over 2,000 Kansans, the staff of the Department of Commerce, and two former governors.

State revenues not hit as hard by pandemic as anticipated

State revenues experienced their steepest plunge in 25 years in the final quarter of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, according to a recent analysis by Pew. It also notes that while some of those revenues were expected to be recovered, nearly half of all states were still projecting revenue declines this fiscal year.

Researchers find mixed results from Opportunity Zones

In an event organized by the Hutchins Center on fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings, academics from some of the nation’s leading universities sought to answer questions centered around Opportunity Zones (OZs), including what is the goal of OZs, are they helping, and how would we know? The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created more than 8,700 Opportunity Zones (OZs) across the United States. The program was intended to spur economic development in distressed communities and offered favorable capital gains tax treatment to investments in such locations.

Senate restructures science, commerce subcommittees

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation announced a new structure for its subcommittees in the 117th Congress, bringing the total number from six to seven. The subcommittees are:

Kauffman updates entrepreneurship policy platform

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Start Us Up coalition announced an update to the America’s New Business Plan platform to advance entrepreneurship. The update places a strong emphasis on the importance of addressing the historical inequities of the American economy, as well as the urgent concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. The lead-in to the specific policy proposals also acknowledges the importance of providing sufficient support to new companies, not just all small businesses.

Workforce, broadband, rural investments at play in governors’ plans for economic development

As governors continue to roll out their State-of-the State addresses in the month of February, we continue to see a heavy focus on recovering from the pandemic. Given most state’s fiscal condition, governors have been generally hesitant to roll out new initiatives during this time, although broadband continues to receive attention, especially with the renewed attention surrounding its importance during the pandemic.

Recent Research: Automation not resulting in greater job loss at the country level

Discussions surrounding automation’s power and the effect it could have on jobs have only increased over time. The current pandemic adds to the debate of whether automation and robotics, which are unaffected by viruses and have the potential for cost savings, could offer a safer bet for industries than human labor. Such are the debates the authors of a new working paper considered in their research examining jobs that were identified in the past as being at risk of elimination through automation.

Useful Stats: Higher Ed R&D intensity by metro, 2019

Metropolitan areas in the U.S. with fewer than 370,000 residents are more likely to be more economically reliant on R&D performed by colleges and universities than larger metros, according to new SSTI analysis. Three data points are used to consider how R&D at institutions of higher education is impacting a region’s economy: NSF’s Higher Education R&D (HERD) data on expenditures at individual institutions; metro area Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis; and population estimates from the Census Bureau. The resulting analysis shows that despite larger metro areas producing a greater total amount of HERD, they are typically less reliant on these expenditures directly powering their economies.

$38 million Build to Scale program open for applications

This week, the U.S. Economic Development Administration announced that the Build to Scale program has opened for applications. The Build to Scale program provides operating funding for tech-based economic development initiatives in regional economies. This program has long been a top priority for SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council, and we are happy that our continued success in raising the program’s appropriation means this year’s funding opportunity will award $38 million in grants.

GAO updates technology assessment design handbook

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has updated its Technology Assessment Design Handbook, a program evaluation tool designed to assist in the development of robust technology assessments. First released to the public in December 2019, the handbook now includes additions based on the experiences of GAO teams, a review of relevant literature, and comments submitted by external experts. It also provides a high-level process for developing policy options.

Ohio rolls out third innovation district in less than a year with $100 million in state commitment

Ohio unveiled the Columbus Innovation District this week, marking the third such announcement in less than a year, with a $100 million commitment from JobsOhio, the state’s nonprofit economic development corporation. Other partners in the Columbus initiative include Ohio State University, which will contribute $650 million, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, with a $350 million commitment.

Report explores ways to ramp up decarbonization of the U.S. energy system

Policymakers will need to consider the larger social and economic conditions associated with efforts to decarbonize the U.S. energy system if the nation is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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