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First Round of State Legislatures Approve FY16 Budgets for TBED Initiatives

March 26, 2015

Over the past few months, SSTI has followed proposals issued by governors in their budget requests, State of the State Addresses, Inaugural Speeches and other events. Now that many state legislatures have begun approving budgets, the Digest will check on the status of these proposals, and examine the state of technology-based economic development funding in the states. This week, we review budgets in Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming

Arizona legislators approved many of Gov. Doug Ducey's proposals to dramatically reduce higher education spending. The governor's budget recommended ending all funding for three of the state's community colleges. Under the approved bill, community colleges in Maricopa and Pima will lose all state support, though the Pinal County Community College system would receive about $2 million, according to an article in The Arizona Republic. However, STEM and workforce programs at state-funded community colleges will receive about $5 million.

Legislators approved even larger reductions for the state's higher education system than the governor proposed. Gov. Ducey proposed a $75 million decrease in university funding, but the final bill reduced support by $99 million.

The budget also reduces funding for the programs offered by the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), according to the Arizona Technology Council's Steve Zylstra. The tax that supports the ACA's Job Training Fund has been eliminated, while support for the Arizona Competes Fund was reduced from the planned $25 million to $20 million.

New Mexico
The New Mexico legislature approved HB 2 on March 20. Included in the approved budget is $100,000 for the Technology Research Collaborative, though the Economic Development Department also received $300,000 for technology transfer activities. Gov. Susana Martinez’s proposed budget recommended $1 million for the Technology Research Collaborative. Similarly, $37.5 million for a closing fund for economic development projects pursuant to the Local Economic Development Act is included, less than the $50 million proposed by the governor. As mentioned in the governor’s State of the State Address, also included in the budget is $5.5 million for the Job Training Incentive Program and $1.5 million for stipends for teacher in hard-to-staff areas.

South Dakota
The South Dakota Future Fund will provide $5 million in FY16 for the Build Dakota scholarship fund. The scholarships will help students receive training at technical schools to work in high-need industries. South Dakota plans to invest $25 million in the program over five years, with a $25 million match from T. Denny Stanford.

Utah approved a base budget (HB 4) for Economic Development on February 10, which was Gov. Herbert signed February 25. The state also approved a supplemental FY 2016 budget on March 11.  Under the budget, the Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) Governing Authority will receive $18.5 million from the general fund to support university research teams at Utah State University and the University of Utah, $2.54 million from the general fund to support technology outreach and innovation, and $971,200 from the general fund for administration costs. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s STEM Action Center would receive $6.5 million from the general fund.

West Virginia
Approved on March 18 by the West Virginia assembly, (HB 2016/SB 233), includes $200,000 to be used exclusively for advanced manufacturing and energy industry specific training programs. To promote education in STEM fields, the budget allocates $85,000 for project-based learning.

The Wyoming General Assembly approved their supplemental 2015-2016 biennial budget on March 2 (SF 1). Included in the budget is $750,000 in general fund spending for the University of Wyoming Science initiative, with the goal of improving the prestige and quality of teaching and research in the sciences, enhancing employability of UW graduates in the sciences, and fostering opportunities for the creation of sustainable jobs in Wyoming. The University Science Initiative also received $3 million for capital construction.




Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wyomingstate budget