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Higher Ed a Priority in MD, MN, FL Budgets

January 29, 2015

Governors in Maryland, Minnesota, and Florida proposed substantial funds to higher education in their budgets this week, with an emphasis on affordable education and expanded research capacity.

Gov. Larry Hogan’s structurally balanced $40.5 billion FY 2016 budget marks the first time in 10 years that the state’s general fund spending would be aligned with available general fund revenues, according to the governor’s office.  Included in Gov. Hogan’s proposed budget allowance is:

  • $10.6 million to support small, minority, and women-owned businesses and $6.3 million to promote small businesses owned by economically and socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs.
  • $12 million in biotechnology tax credits to leverage investment for life sciences companies, $9.4 million to further develop stem cell technology, and $2.5 million, after contingent reductions, in investments and tax credits to promote cybersecurity research.
  • $9 million in research and development tax credits, $8.5 million to create endowed research chairs at universities, and $4.9 million to commercialize research conducted at participating universities through the Maryland Innovation Initiative.

Approximately 30 percent of the state’s capital budget is reserved for modernizing and replacing aging facilities at Maryland universities. These projects include an $81.6 million health sciences facility at the University of Maryland Baltimore; A $65.7 million learning center at the University of Maryland College Park; and A $39.7 million natural sciences center at Bowie State University.

Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed FY 2016-17 budget, with a $42 billion general fund, includes increased funding to higher education and an emphasis on improving the lives and education of the state’s children.

The governor’s proposed budget includes investing an additional $93 million in general fund spending ($3 billion total) in higher education to limit tuition growth at the University of Minnesota, expand the State Grant Program, and continue tuition reciprocity with neighboring states. Included within this appropriation is $30 million to the University of Minnesota Medical School to improve research outcomes, paying for 50 research faculty members over the course of the next eight years.

For workforce and economic development, Gov. Dayton proposes $30 million for the expansion of broadband access across the state, $2.5 million to establish a new “Pathways to Prosperity” program that provides adults facing employment barriers with developmental education and skills-based training and the expansion of the state Dislocated Worker Program to serve currently employed residents that would benefit from additional training. Previously, the program only served unemployed Minnesotans.  

Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s $77 billion proposed budget would provide a small, 2.5 percent increase for Strategic Business Development programs in the state. Within the $217 million allotted for these initiatives, $19.5 million would be provided for operations at Space Florida, $5.5 million for the Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research and $19.9 million for Enterprise Florida. Another $85 million would be available through Enterprise Florida for economic development incentives, including the Innovation Incentive Program.

A new $1 million STEM Business Partnership Summer Residency program for teachers would aim to create career pathways for K-12 students in math and science, while a tuition freeze for the State University System would help improve access to affordable higher education.


Florida, Maryland, Minnesotastate budget