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Legislative Wrap Up: West Virginia and Wyoming Pass Budgets

March 30, 2011

Budgets recently approved in West Virginia and Wyoming will dedicate new funds for TBED initiatives in the coming year. TechConnect West Virginia is slated to receive $250,000 for its efforts to develop immediate and long-term strategies to capitalize on the state's technology strengths. In Wyoming, lawmakers allocated a portion of Abandoned Mine Land (AML) funds for construction of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) undergraduate teaching laboratory and for graduate stipends and fellowships to support students studying energy, natural resources and computational sciences at the University of Wyoming (UW).

West Virginia
TechConnect West Virgina, a nonprofit corporation established to facilitate tech-based economic development efforts throughout the state, will receive $250,000 in FY12 state appropriations. The investment will help to optimize the Research Trust Fund and the West Virginia Education, Research and Technology Park. Lawmakers approved $750,000 for the initiative, which was later reduced by Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as part of an overall line-item veto that reduces the budget by $18.2 million. In his veto letter, the governor expressed support for TechConnect's efforts to spur technology development and commercialization. The approved budget for the West Virginia Development Office also provides level funding for most economic development efforts, including $215,034 for the West Virginia High Tech Consortium and $131,328 for the West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the same as last year.

The legislature's FY12 enrolled budget bill is available at: http://www.budget.wv.gov/approvedbudget/Documents/HB2012_Enrolled.pdf. Read the governor's veto message: http://www.budget.wv.gov/approvedbudget/Documents/govvetoletter2012.pdf.

Gov. Matt Mead signed the 2011-12 supplemental budget bill earlier this month, which includes $50 million in prior balance AML funds for phase I construction of the Michael B. Enzi STEM undergraduate teaching laboratory to be located on the University of Wyoming (UW) campus (see the Dec. 1, 2010 issue of the Digest).

The enacted budget also authorizes the Department of Environmental Quality to submit grant applications for distribution of AML funds to UW for the following projects: $6.2 million for energy science graduate stipends and fellowships; and, $1 million for nonoperational and other administrative costs associated with high plains gasification.

Gov. Mead signed a bill into law during the session that he says is important in attracting a wind tower manufacturing company to the state. HB 143 extends the sales and use tax exemption for manufacturing equipment from Dec. 31, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2017 and amends reporting requirements.

The general government appropriations bill is available at: http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2011/Enroll/SF0001.pdf.

West Virginia, Wyomingstate budget, stem, state tbed