SSTI Digest

Geography: Arkansas

Proposed AR Budget Faces Unclear Future, MS Proposal Targets Public Education, Workforce

Over the last couple weeks, governors in Arkansas and Mississippi presented budgets to their stage legislature. In Arkansas, term-limited Gov. Mike Beebe presented two budget proposals for the 2015-17 biennial budget to state lawmakers. However, Gov.-elect Asa Hutchison also will present a budget to the legislature that may differ from Gov. Beebe’s proposal and potentially impact funding for state agencies due to a proposed $100 million individual income tax cut. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant released his fiscal year 2016 (FY16) executive budget recommendations highlighted by a $52 million increase in funding for public education including a $3 million commitment for the Mississippi Works Scholarship Program.

TBED Ballot Issues, Bond Proposals Fare Well in Midterm Elections

In case you missed it, the midterm elections were on Tuesday, resulting in Republicans taking control of Congress, several new governors, and five states endorsing minimum wage increases. Although the 146 state ballot measures up for vote were a quarter-century low, several proposals were relevant to the TBED community, as highlighted in a Digest article last week. Voters ultimately approved many of these proposals, although initiatives related to higher-education in North Dakota and Oregon both failed. 

Ballot Preview: Voters to Decide on Taxes, GMOs, Higher Ed

On November 4, 42 states will vote on 146 ballot issues across a wide array of issues. In addition to initiatives on gun control, bear baiting, and the minimum wage, several initiatives relevant to the TBED community are also up for decision. SSTI has gathered information on many of these and will discuss their results after next week’s elections.

Trends 2013 Preview: Cities, States Invest in High-Tech Hubs

Eager to attract investment and spur startup activity, city and state officials launched entrepreneurship programs, high-tech R&D centers, and sector-specific facilities as part of the innovation hub trend in 2013.

TBED People & Orgs

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has nominated Deputy Director William Parsons to lead the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation.

TBED People and Job Opportunities

Maria Haley, the executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission passed way Sept. 13 after suffering a brain aneurysm.

Arkansas Governor Announces $2.7 Million STEM Education Pilot Program

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and the state's Workforce Cabinet announced a $2.7 million pilot program — STEM Works — focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in high schools. STEM Works will be made up of two components. The first component will focus on overhauling the state's STEM curriculum at the high school level to better prepare high school graduates to pursue college degrees in STEM disciplines. The second component — UTeach — will attempt to attract qualified college graduates to become STEM educators.

Tech Talkin' Govs, Part II

The second installment of SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs' series includes excerpts from speeches delivered in Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Kansas, New Hampshire, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. Our first installment was in the Jan. 5 Digest.

Budgets Unveiled in Southern and Western States Maintain, Invest in TBED

Governors in Arkansas, Mississippi and Wyoming recently unveiled spending plans for the upcoming year or biennium. Funding for many tech-based investments would be maintained or increased under the governors' proposals. New proposals range from additional funds for energy research at the University of Wyoming to new funding mechanisms for colleges and universities in Mississippi. Funding for S&T efforts in Arkansas would remain level.

Incubator Numbers Grow with Interest in Tech Entrepreneurship as Recession Cure

As economists and policymakers debate the details of how and when the nation will recover from the recession, the topic of entrepreneurship and the role it will play in shaping the new economy continually arises. In the coming years, some analysts predict a rise in entrepreneurship both as a result of massive layoffs and an aging workforce not yet ready or able to retire. Highlighting the correlation between joblessness and the uptick in entrepreneurship, several recent news articles have featured stories of the unemployed forgoing disappointing job searches and the corporate environment to pursue business ownership.

Legislative Update: Arkansas and Georgia Pass FY10 Budgets

While there is no question that the economic recession has taken a toll on states' fiscal conditions, the degree by which states are affected can vary widely from one state to another, as evidenced most recently in Arkansas and Georgia. In Arkansas, legislators wrapped up their 2009 session with a plan to distribute a $300 million surplus, while the budget agreement made in Georgia would cut spending by $1.6 billion in the coming year. The following overview provides an outline of legislative actions affecting the two states' programs that support tech-based economic development efforts.

TBED People and Organizations

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell named George Cornelius, the immediate past president and CEO of Arkema Inc., as secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development.