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2007 Election Results: New Governors Promote TBED Strategies; Ballot Items Reveal Mixed Results

November 07, 2007

The 2007 state elections resulted in two newly elected governors, both promoting TBED strategies as a means to grow the states’ economies. In both cases, the new governorships reflect a change in party affiliation. A third gubernatorial race resulted in the re-election of Gov. Haley Barbour to a second term in Mississippi.



Democratic candidate Steve Beshear defeated Republican incumbent Ernie Fletcher by a 59-41 percent margin. The former lieutenant governor, attorney general and state representative unveiled an economic development platform during his campaign that consists of three major components -- the Kentucky Jobs First Plan, Fueling Kentucky First and Putting Opportunity First.


Under the Kentucky Jobs First Plan, the state will focus on high-wage job growth through business attraction and retention. The plan will redirect some of the funds now spent on recruiting out-of-state businesses to helping existing businesses grow and expand. Other components of the plan include creating an R&D tax credit to cover a portion of Kentucky businesses’ research expenses and increasing the current venture capital tax credit from 40 percent to 50 percent of the investment.


Fueling Kentucky First, an energy independence plan, promotes the state's energy sector through investments in R&D and deployment of clean coal, alternative fuel and clean technology businesses in Kentucky. Gov.-elect Beshear proposes the creation of a $60 million Kentucky Energy Fund to help jumpstart these industries and $15 million in incentives, grants and research funding each year. The plan also calls for establishing a Secretary of Energy Independence position and creating a public-private partnership to focus on production of corn ethanol, bio-diesel and cellulosic ethanol.


The Putting Opportunity First Plan will establish more early-college high schools, fully fund colleges and universities, and increase advanced training opportunities. More information is available at www.stevebeshear.com/.



Republican Congressman Bobby Jindal was elected Louisiana’s 61st governor on Oct. 20, succeeding outgoing Democratic Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who did not run for a second term. The Governor-elect released an action plan for economic reform that includes investing in higher education, supporting university R&D and developing a quality workforce. Specifically, the plan proposes:

  • Providing a “Day one Guarantee” to businesses that will promise a highly skilled, trained workforce and free retraining for any graduate not meeting the needs of businesses;
  • Maximizing partnering of community and technical college systems with businesses to tailor training programs and identify shortages in the marketplace;
  • Developing and expanding national caliber university research departments in fields important to the state and regional economy;
  • Promoting partnerships between higher education and the business community and increase the R&D tax credit for companies that invest in Louisiana universities;
  • Improving efforts to attract federal research dollars for relevant types of research; and,
  • Changing the patent royalty policy to give researchers financial incentives to commercialize research in Louisiana and encourage universities to be leaders in tech transfer and commercialization.

More information is available at: http://www.bobbyjindal.com/docs/issues/Economic-Reform.html


Results of the 2007 Ballot Issues

The voters have spoken. Tuesday’s election results have been tallied, and the outcomes of ballot items in four states signify mixed results for TBED-related measures across the nation. While voters in Texas approved a $3 billion commitment to cancer research, New Jersey voters rejected a $450 million proposal to fund stem cell research. More detailed information on the ballot measures is provided in last week’s issue of the Digest, which is available at: http://www.ssti.org/Digest/latesttext.htm#Election
Maine Voters approved 51 percent to 49 percent a $55 million bond proposal aimed at stimulating economic development and job creation for targeted technology sectors, according to unofficial results reported by the Bangor Daily News.

New Jersey The New Jersey Stem Cell Bond Act was rejected by voters by a 53-47 percent margin. The measure would have authorized the state to issue bonds totaling $450 million over 10 years for stem cell research grants.

Texas Garnering more than 60 percent of the votes, Proposition 15 was approved, authorizing the state to issue $3 billion over 10 years for grants to fund cancer research. Proposition 2 also was approved by 66 percent to 34 percent, allowing the Texas Higher Education Board to issue $500 million in general obligation bonds to finance student loans. 


Initiative 960, a measure that requires legislative approval or voter approval for tax increases, was approved by voters 52 percent to 47 percent.

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