SSTI Digest

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Geography: Maryland

State actions in 2019: Opportunity Zones

In 2019, the administrations and legislatures in many states grappled with if and how to adjust state economic development initiatives to leverage the federal Opportunity Zone (OZ) program. The actions of 12 states that implemented new activities are described below.

States aim to drive growth with new economic development, energy plans

A trio of plans focused on economic development at the state level were released this month. Noting that it is at an economic crossroads and facing serious challenges, Maine’s Department of Economic and Community Development has issued a new 10-year economic development strategy for the state. Massachusetts has also proposed a new economic development plan, focusing on four key areas, while a new report in Maryland is targeting clean energy as an opportunity for the state to invest in the future.

Maine’s plan

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.

Universities launch incubators, accelerators and funds in 2019

Universities frequently play an integral role in providing activities, research, and products that positively affect or support local, regional, state and national economic development or strategic goals.  In higher-education’s efforts to align its participation in innovation and entrepreneurship systems, universities’ incubators, accelerators and fund programs are essential in assisting their faculty, staff, or students in the services and support needed to create startups, bring products to market, or provide critically needed funding.

States with new university-industry partnerships & research capacity activities work to strengthen economies and talent pipelines

Research universities and their partnerships with industry, including an institution’s research capacity, are important elements to building a state’s economy as well as the national economy and talent pipeline and workforce.

Ten states selected for manufacturing-focused Policy Academy

Ten states from across the country have been selected as part of a unique program designed to grow and strengthen their manufacturers. Over the course of the next year, interdisciplinary state teams will meet together in Washington, D.C., and separately in their home states, to develop and refine strategies impacting manufacturing industries.

Evaluation finds TEDCO programs have strong economic benefit

TEDCO’s current portfolio of assisted companies has grown to 326 companies and more than 3,100 jobs, according to an economic impact report by the University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Institute and TEConomy Partners. TEDCO was created by the Maryland State Legislature in 1998 to facilitate the transfer and commercialization of technology from Maryland’s research universities and federal labs into the marketplace. The direct Maryland economic activity generated by these core programs totaled nearly $900 million in 2018, a considerable increase from the $572.3 million in economic activity reported in 2015. Of all TEDCO programs, the Seed Investment Fund has the largest direct impact, accounting for more than half of all employment and direct economic activity.

Tech Talkin’ Govs part 5: Tax incentives, clean energy, help for higher ed strike note in governors' addresses

More than half of the governors have now delivered their state of the state addresses, and TBED initiatives continue to play a prominent role in their plans. Higher ed’s affordability and/or role in the workforce are concerns in Montana, South Carolina, Utah and Vermont. Maryland is looking at clean energy and higher education. Utah is also grappling with burgeoning growth while Vermont considers measures to increase its workforce.

Maryland Gov. proposes $56 million for Opportunity Zone programs

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s FY 2020 budget proposal includes $56.5 million in new funding to attract businesses to Opportunity Zones. Other new innovation funding would support manufacturer hiring credits and a seed fund for minority entrepreneurs. Under the governor’s proposal, TEDCO, the state’s primary innovation agency, would see its spending increase from $27 million to $45 million.

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.

Montgomery County, MD launches first county-based SBIR/STTR-match program

Although SBIR/STTR matching programs have existed at the state and regional levels for years, Montgomery County, Maryland, recently launched the country’s first county-based match program. The county council overwhelmingly approved the program, which will target Montgomery County-based small businesses receiving Phase I or Phase II SBIR/STTR grants through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), whose main offices are also within the county.

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