SSTI Digest

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Geography: Missouri

$300 million gift to MO higher ed will support innovation and entrepreneurship

In the largest single gift in the history of Missouri higher education, $300 million has been donated to support Missouri S&T that will enable the university to establish a new school of innovation and entrepreneurship, among other things. The benefactors are St. Louis businessman Fred Kummer, a graduate of the school who credited the education he received there with his success, and his wife.

Policy positions of gubernatorial candidates in 11 states discussed

Eleven states are holding gubernatorial elections this year with nine incumbents seeking reelection, two of which are facing off against their lieutenant governor. Only one governor, Steve Bullock in Montana, is term-limited and unable to seek reelection. In Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert is stepping down from the position he has held for 10 years. While many of the races this year will reflect referendums on the current governor’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the candidates have announced their innovation and economic development initiatives.

Missouri governor uses CARES funds to support incubator facilities

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson last week announced that $1 million of the state’s CARES Act funding will be used to create a grant for nonprofit and university-based coworker and incubator facilities. The grant will be administered by the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC). Organizations will be reimbursed with grant funds for expenses related to updating the facilities to encourage social distancing, adopting enhanced sanitation protocols or acquiring PPE to comply with the guidelines of the public health emergency.

States dealt blow with pandemic

In general, the effect of the pandemic on states’ budgets due to the wave of business, retail, and commerce shutdowns, as well as other reduced economic activity across the nation, is not entirely known, or too early to forecast; however, a number of states are beginning to experience the initial impacts of a substantial downturn. With several states having already enacted their 2020-21 budgets, special sessions are expected later this year to deal with declining revenues. Others ended sessions early without a new fiscal year spending plan in place.

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.

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 3: Economic development, broadband, education and climate change driving governors’ innovation agendas

This week, we see broadband investment in Indiana; education initiatives that begin with pre-K and extend beyond high school in a number of states; lifelong learning approaches; apprenticeships; climate change and green energy initiatives in Nevada and Washington; and more on governors’ agendas. As governors across the country continue to deliver their state of the state addresses to their legislatures and constituents, SSTI monitors the speeches for news of innovation related initiatives.

Rural broadband emerging as early theme for 2019

Action toward improving the availability and speed of broadband in rural areas is emerging as an early theme in 2019, continuing activity from 2018. Oregon, Washington and the USDA all announced new initiatives last month. In mid-December, the USDA announced the availability of $600 million in grants and loans to support improvement of broadband accessibility across rural America. Funding is split into three equal pools. Up to $200 million may be awarded as grants (deadline for proposals is April 29); $200 million may be awarded as low-interest loans (applications due June 28); and $200 million may be distributed in a mix of grants and loans (proposals are due May 29).  Projects funded through this initiative must serve communities with fewer than 20,000 people with no broadband service or where service is slower than 10 megabits per second (mbps) download and 1 mbps upload.

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.

States targeting strategies to boost workforce

State economic growth relies on the availability of a workforce capable of filling open positions. But increasingly around the country, one of the top concerns of employers is finding the right talent to fill these roles. Beyond corporate strategies in hiring, states are increasingly developing new initiatives to keep their pipeline of talent flowing.

Policymakers leverage public libraries to promote innovation

For hundreds of years, libraries have helped drive American innovation by serving as a trusted resource and providing information to a wide range of individuals. As libraries continue to implement their own initiatives in this space, policymakers across the country have recently turned to them as a way to level the playing field around workforce development and entrepreneurial support.

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