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: Kentucky

Recent announcements reveal “mega” trends in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing expansions

The recently approved Inflation Reduction Act with new incentives for electric vehicle ownership and energy efficiency is likely to continue a trend among states for the location of major economic development projects, a trend toward everything mega—megasites, megadeals, mega factories, and mega projects. These large-scale manufacturing projects typically feature incentives from state and local governments, such as access to shovel-ready megasites or large tax incentive packages. These new "mega" trends have raised the stakes and increased competition between states as they advocate for the bid of electric vehicle and battery companies looking to expand.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2022: Innovation agendas from the governors’ State of the State addresses

The last of the governors have delivered their State of the State addresses. With 36 gubernatorial elections this fall, many governors appeared to be more conservative in their addresses this year, speaking more about past accomplishments rather than rolling out new programs. This week features comments from California, Louisiana, Nevada and Ohio’s governors as their addresses related to the innovation economy.

NIST MEP announces funding opportunities for manufacturing centers in four states

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is accepting applications to operate Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers in Kentucky, Nebraska, Rhode Island and South Dakota. The NIST Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership funds 51 centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico which provide experts who enhance the performance of local manufacturers. Funding awards will include almost $19.8 million to support small and medium-sized manufacturing companies in the four listed states.

Kentucky and Rhode Island roll out new proposals to boost innovation

Attracting investment to a coal-dependent region with a state-of-the-art AgriTech research and development center is under consideration in Kentucky while Rhode Island is proposing greater investment in developing its blue economy. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Rhode Island Gov. Daniel J. McKee have both targeted new innovation initiatives to grow their state’s economy in their recently proposed budgets.

Racial disparities in labor market outcomes examined

A new commentary from a senior policy analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland examines the extent to which disparities exist between Black and whites in labor market outcomes such as levels of labor force participation, unemployment rates, and earnings. Economic inclusion trends have been studied at the national level, but this commentary takes a look at how those disparities vary within and across states with a specific look at the Fourth Federal Reserve District states of Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Governors lay out plans for recovery, rebuilding in annual State of the State addresses

Across the country, the governors have begun delivering their State of the State addresses, an annual ritual where they have the opportunity to review where the state’s economy stands and preview their plans for the coming year. This year’s remarks reflect the dire conditions most states are experiencing with the pandemic, economic fallout, racial strife and national political upheaval. Despite the heavy focus on states’ efforts to respond to the pandemic, governors have struck a hopeful note and are focusing on recovery. Some governors have noted that the fallout in their state was not as severe as they originally anticipated and there are resources for new initiatives. Some, like Arizona and Virginia are considering gaming revenue to boost their budgets, while legalization of marijuana is being pursued in Connecticut, Kentucky (medical marijuana) and Virginia.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2020: FL, GA, IN, IA, KS, KY, MO, RI, WA present diverse efforts to grow economies

Governors’ focus on initiatives particular to their state in this latest round of state of the state addresses. As SSTI continues to review the speeches for new innovation proposals, we found states continuing to focus on education with more attention on teacher salaries and efforts extending all the way down to pre-K with a recognition that the future workforce is influenced by many factors. Florida is also hoping to grow its aerospace and manufacturing sectors, while Kentucky’s new governor is looking to ag tech and sports betting as new revenue sources. Occupational licensing reform is also a recurring theme in many states this year, along with clean energy and renewable fuels.

Manufacturing wage growth supporting Appalachian economy

Earnings for Appalachian manufacturing workers grew 3.4 percent from 2012 through 2017 to an average of $63,583. The growth is in the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Industrial Make-up of the Appalachian Region, 2002-2017, which reviews employment and wages by sector across the region. Appalachian workers overall saw earnings increase by 3.7 percent over the five years. In the rest of the country, manufacturing wage growth was 1.2 percent or 3.3 percent across all sectors.

Election results could yield new state policies; TX doubles cancer R&D

Democrats made some gains in Virginia’s Legislature, and in Kentucky, the governor’s seat looks to be turning over to a Democrat, but the current Republican is requesting a recanvass in the close race. If those results hold, Democratic challenger and current Attorney General Andy Beshear will take the seat from incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin, ending the state’s Republican trifecta (where one party holds the governorship and both chambers of the legislature). Mississippi’s gubernatorial seat remained in Republican control, while the gubernatorial election in Louisiana takes place on Nov. 16, and the incumbent Democratic governor there is seeking another term. Following Tuesday’s elections, the divided government in Virginia turned into a Democratic trifecta in Virginia, as Republicans lost their hold in both the House and Senate. Those outcomes and results from several state legislative elections, along with the results of several innovation-related initiatives, are highlighted below.

Several states in play this election cycle for innovation initiatives, gubernatorial and legislative elections

As voters head to the polls next week, some will be deciding the fate of innovation and development-related initiatives, while voters in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi will be voting in gubernatorial elections. The initiatives include a possible additional $3 billion in Texas for cancer research. And in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia, legislative chambers are holding regular elections. Those races and initiatives are covered below.

Policy Academy teams meet to strengthen manufacturers

As part of an official kick-off for a yearlong Policy Academy, interdisciplinary teams from around the country met in Washington, D.C., last week to advance policies that strengthen their manufacturing sectors. The four state participants – Kentucky, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and Utah – are comprised of leadership from governor’s offices, state economic development departments, Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers, manufacturing trade associations, and other manufacturing centers. In addition to facilitated working groups, the event featured speakers from Deloitte, The National Center for the Middle Market, NIST, MForesight, New America, and the National Governors’ Association.

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.

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