SSTI Digest

The latest reporting and analysis on breakthroughs in technology-based economic development research and issues that matter most to you. To receive the SSTI Weekly Digest via email, sign up here.


Geography: Connecticut

States take the lead on climate change

When Gov. Janet Mills addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23, it was the first time a sitting governor of Maine has been asked to address the body. She had been invited as part of her participation in the UN Climate Action Summit 2019, and has made tackling climate change and embracing renewable energy key priorities of her administration. She is not the only governor stepping into the role where the federal government has backed out.

Free tuition offerings continue to evolve in states across the US

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham became the latest governor to propose a plan for free tuition, with what has been called the “one of the most ambitious attempts to make higher education more accessible.” If approved, the plan would allow in-state students to attend any of the 29 state public colleges or universities, regardless of income. It is designed as a “last-dollar” program.

Adults without degrees can benefit from certificates

While higher education remains a viable path to economic advancement, adults without a postsecondary degree are increasingly benefitting from non-degree certificates and certifications, according to a recent report. As automation and technological advances demand more skills from workers in the changing economy, Strada Education Network and Lumina Foundation partnered to determine the value and impact of the growing number of non-degree credentials.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 7: States look to educated populace to help build prosperity

As the states turn to tackling their budgets, governors are presenting their spending and revenue proposals, and SSTI continues to monitor these. Budget constraints and deficits are problems for governors in Connecticut and Illinois, and Connecticut’s governor is proposing expanding the sales tax base while focusing on loan forgiveness and clean energy. Education is on the agenda in Illinois where the governor is hoping to build prosperity through skills training and college affordability.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2019, part 2: Broadband, education, climate change fixes on governors’ radars

Reviewing another slate of governors’ state of the state and inaugural addresses reveals some recurring themes. With a focus on maintaining gains made since the Great Recession and increasing budgets, many governors are holding off on major new initiatives, but are proposing means to increase broadband access, diversify their economies, build renewable energy efforts, and increase their rainy day funds in case of an economic downturn. SSTI presents part 2 of our Tech Talkin’ Govs series, with coverage of governors in Colorado, Connecticut, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

States’ fiscal picture improves with growing economy

The ability of states to deliver the services promised to its residents relies on their fiscal soundness. With most states beginning their fiscal year in July, SSTI has reviewed the current fiscal standing for each state and here presents a snapshot of our findings.

Most states ended their fiscal year with a surplus and continue to recover from the Great Recession, with a growing economy and job gains. However, they face continuing demands on their budgets, with expanded Medicaid payments and the growing opioid crisis confronting nearly every state. Such decisions affect the state’s ability to fund innovation efforts, from the amount of support available for higher education and STEM programs, to funding for entrepreneurship, and forging public private partnerships to strengthen innovation programming that the private sector cannot fully support.

Our analysis found that some states that rely on the energy sector to fund their spending priorities continue to struggle, while others are already factoring in anticipated revenues as a result of new Supreme Court rulings involving gaming and online sales tax collections.

College mergers a prescription in meeting higher ed headaches

Declining enrollments, higher costs and limited state funding continue to challenge higher education institutions, and possible mergers continue to surface as an option to meeting those challenges. In Pennsylvania, a new study sponsored by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee identifies options to help ensure the sustainability of the State System of Higher Education, and mergers factor into those considerations.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2018, part 6: AR, CT, ME, WY look to boost economies

SSTI’s Tech Talkin’ Govs feature continues as governors across the country are wrapping up their state of the state addresses. We review each speech for comments relevant to the innovation economy, and bring you their words directly from their addresses.

In this latest installment of Tech Talkin’ Govs, Arkansas is celebrating its low unemployment while Maine says it will focus on a commercialization bond and grow the workforce in part through a student debt relief program. Connecticut wants new goals for clean energy and Wyoming’s focus on economic diversification continues with the governor there calling for full funding for the ENDOW initiative.

CT, WI sign budgets following difficult negotiations

Connecticut and Wisconsin both ended their protracted budget negotiations with the governors signing budgets in late September and late October. Faced with budget constraints and uncertainty about the spending plan, Connecticut’s funding for economic and community development is decreasing along with funding for the state’s MEP center and Manufacturing Supply Chain program, with no general funds provided for them in the second year of the biennium. Wisconsin appears to be maintaining its status quo on TBED-related initiatives and has increased funding to universities that increase enrollments for “high-demand” degree programs, making $5 million available on a competitive basis.

Nine states explore science policy fellowships

After training nearly 80 PhD scientists and engineers in the craft of policy making, the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) has awarded planning grants to nine other states to evaluate the potential to create a policy fellowship for scientists and engineers in their state capital. The new one-year grant, which is administered by CCST and funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Simons Foundation, will support teams in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Washington as they work on feasibility studies and other strategic steps toward creating science fellowships in their state policy arenas.

AL, CT, FL, MI, MO, OK, PA and WI budget proposals boost and cut TBED

In the latest round of state budget proposals, TBED initiatives receive mixed reviews. Some governors are boosting funding while others in cash-strapped states are proposing cuts.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, Part I: AR, AZ, CT, IA, ID, IN, KS, ND, SD, VT, WI - workforce, education top concerns

SSTI again presents its latest round of Tech Talkin’ Govs, where governors’ comments about TBED issues are excerpted from their state of the state and inaugural addresses. Today’s roundup includes STEM spending and workforce development in Idaho, education in Arizona, manufacturing in Connecticut and a nod to technological change in North Dakota, inaugural addresses from new governors in Vermont and Indiana, and more reports from governors who gave their addresses on the 10th. Next week the Digest will continue with Part II of Tech Talkin’ Govs featuring news from the next round of addresses.

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