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: Maine

Maine voters to decide $15M bond issue for broadband funding

Voters in Maine will consider a high-speed internet infrastructure bond issue on the July 14 ballot. The legislatively-referred measure would authorize $15 million in general obligation bonds for the Connect ME Authority to provide funding for high-speed internet infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas. The bond revenue would be used to match an estimated $30 million in federal, private, local and other funds.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2020: DE, HI, ME, MA, NE, NM, SD, WI trying to build economies

The economy, workforce and climate change continue to surface in governors' state of the state addresses. While today’s strong economy allows most governors to reflect on how the states have grown, preparing for the next downturn continues to be a point of concern.

Portland, Maine to benefit from $100 million research institute

On Monday, Maine Gov. Janet Mills and Mayor Kate Snyder gathered on Portland’s waterfront for the unveiling of a $100 million research institute designed to drive innovation, talent and economic growth in Portland, the region and the state of Maine.

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

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.

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.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 6: Education, workforce, climate change top TBED agendas

Educating the next generation of workers, ensuring they will have the skills necessary for the jobs of the future and paying attention to the actions that will affect the climate are all on the agendas of the latest round of governors giving their state of the state and budget addresses. A focus on skills can be seen in addresses from governors in California, Maine, Michigan, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. States are also continuing with initiatives to forward attention on climate change, as reflected in Maine’s climate agenda and Michigan joining other states in the Climate Alliance.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2019, part 1: Governors unveil broadband, workforce, and research proposals to build economies

With 36 governors being sworn in following the November elections, 20 of those being new faces and 16 who were re-elected, this year’s inaugural and state of the state addresses promise new ideas along with proposed resolutions to existing challenges. As the governors present their plans to constituents, SSTI revisits our Tech Talkin’ Govs series.

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, part 6: AR, CT, ME, WY look to boost economies

SSTI’s Tech Talkin’ Govs feature continues as governors across the country are wrapping up 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 latest installment of Tech Talkin’ Govs, Arkansas is celebrating its low unemployment while Maine says it will focus on a commercialization bond and grow the workforce in part through a student debt relief program. Connecticut wants new goals for clean energy and Wyoming’s focus on economic diversification continues with the governor there calling for full funding for the ENDOW initiative.

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