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: Florida

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.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 8: education, workforce, climate action and rural initiatives focus of innovation efforts

This week we nearly finish our state of the state coverage, save two remaining governors (Louisiana and Minnesota) who have yet to present their addresses. In reviewing the speeches for news on innovation efforts, we find education taking the main stage in Florida and Tennessee, while Alabama and Ohio’s governors are hoping to build the state’s workforce, and North Carolina, still recovering from natural disasters, wants to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and provide tuition assistance for community college.

Key ballot initiatives to impact state futures

SSTI has reviewed the ballot initiatives across the country that affect innovation. Several states have energy initiatives on their ballots, while higher education funding is at play in Maine, Montana, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Utah could become only the second state to fund its schools through gas taxes, if a measure there is passed. At the same time, four states have ballot issues addressing redistricting commissions which could have a significant impact on state legislative makeup when lines are redrawn after the 2020 census.

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.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2018: AZ, FL, IA, ID, MS, NY, VT present state of the state addresses

SSTI’s Tech Talkin’ Govs feature returns as governors across the country roll out 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 first installment, we present excerpts from governors in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, New York and Vermont.

With the seat up for election in 36 states this fall, many governors are delivering what may be their last state of the state address (see last week’s story on the definite turnover in 17 states and another 19 eligible for reelection). Some governors are more specific in their addresses regarding the innovation economy, such as Idaho where its governor is seeking additional money for college and career advising, an additional $5 million for the Opportunity Scholarship program, and a new position to coordinate the work of all its higher education institutions. Iowa’s governor is calling on the legislature to pass the Future Ready Iowa Act and proposes a new scholarship for Iowans who decide to pursue up to a two-year degree in a high-demand field as well as more money for apprenticeships. Taxes are taking a large part of the discussion for many governors. For instance, the Florida governor is hoping for a constitutional amendment to make it more difficult for future legislators to raise taxes, while in New York, the governor says the state will challenge the federal tax code.

State budget proposals reflect economy: AK, CO, FL, MS, WY reviewed

States are beginning their next round of budget proposals, following last year’s cautious approach to budgeting. SSTI begins its review of the proposals this week, presenting findings on how states are funding elements of the innovation economy with a review of Alaska, Colorado, Florida and Wyoming state budgets. While Alaska and Wyoming continue to recover from budget shortfalls exacerbated by their dependence on the energy industry, Colorado and Florida both include initiatives to increase funding to higher education and Mississippi looks to join those state offering free tuition with a proposal for free community college through the creation of a Mississippi Works Scholars Program.

States of Innovation 2017: Free tuition moving into more state toolboxes

This week we continue our series on state legislation pertaining to the innovation economy that has been enacted this year around the country. This second installment of the States of Innovation 2017 series deals with free tuition.

A number of states took action to increase the education and skills of their workforce by implementing free or greatly reduced tuition programs at either community colleges or state colleges. The move to increase access to higher education while not new, took up increased urgency this year. With Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Tennessee all taking action this past year, Maine and North Carolina were among others considering other options but as of today’s publication not moving the proposals forward.

Legislative sessions ending; AL, FL, NV, TN budgets reviewed

As more state legislatures are coming to the close of their sessions, more state budgets are being finalized. This week SSTI takes a look at the final appropriations for Alabama, which is decreasing its innovation funding in higher ed; Florida, whose governor signed a budget after vetoing more than $20 million in STEM, higher ed, R&D and other innovation funding; Nevada, with positive news in technology-based economic development funding; and Tennessee, where the Department of Economic and Community Development’s state funding is down by more than 27 percent compared to FY 2017.

Innovation, education victims of FL governor’s veto pen

Among the $410 million in items Gov. Rick Scott struck from Florida’s 2018 budget were more than 100 appropriations totaling more than $20 million that would support STEM education, higher ed, R&D and innovation. Instead, the governor wants the state to spend more money promoting tourism. Scott vetoed more than $20 million for innovation-oriented economic development items.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, Part VI: FL defends economic approach, KY calls for outcomes-based education funding

The last of the state of the state addresses are trickling in, with Florida’s governor this week making the case for the state’s economic development organization and business incentives, which the Florida House of Representatives have targeted for elimination. Last month Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin called for education reform and highlighted the competition for state funds in workforce development. Ohio and Louisiana’s governors are scheduled to deliver their remarks in April.

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.

EDA Announces Grants to Spur Manufacturing Growth, Address Declining Coal Industry

Since the beginning of July, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced almost $7.3 million in grants to support advanced manufacturing and support workforce development efforts in communities impacted by the decline coal industry. In Florida and Washington, the EDA announced funding to support the facilities that can house local manufacturing firms and provide the space and equipment necessary for them to create jobs.

Pages