SSTI Digest

Geography: Mississippi

R&D and innovation funding sees some increases, more decreases in state budgets: CA, IL, MS, NC, OH

Breaking a two-year impasse, legislators in Illinois were able to pass a state budget that reinstitutes an R&D tax credit and implements workforce development programs. In California, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) will see a 28 percent increase in funding, while other innovation initiative are receiving level funding. In other states whose budgets SSTI analyzed this week for TBED-related funding, we found that Innovate Mississippi was able to maintain state funding and new funding was appropriated for workforce development at the state’s community and junior colleges; a variety of programs were cut in North Carolina; and, Ohio will not get funding for a state office focused on commercializing research across key industries that the governor had proposed. More findings from California, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina and Ohio are detailed below.

TBED Issues Considered in State Budgets

As new and supplemental state budgets are being proposed, SSTI is monitoring the proposals and will report on developments impacting prosperity through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. The first budgets released – from Colorado, Mississippi, Oregon and Wyoming – represent a mixed bag with new initiatives proposed in three states and program elimination in the fourth.

Delta Regional Authority Releases Economic Development Strategy for 252 Counties Across Eight States

The Delta Regional Authority  (DRA) released the Regional Development Plan III (RDPIII) – an economic development strategy to help guide DRA’s 252-county region’s economic growth over the next five years. In RDPIII, DRA identifies three goals and related action items to guide its economic development efforts in the Delta region:

IN, MS Announce Workforce Initiatives to Support State Competitiveness, Job Creation

To drive state competitiveness and job creation, Indiana and Mississippi announced new efforts to engage regional institutions of higher education and other organizations to provide workers with the skills that match the needs of existing industry as well as attract new business and industry to their state. Through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD), the state will commit $22 million to fund industry-led regional partnerships aimed at aligning education and workforce needs. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant announced the creation of a new workforce training fund to allow state leaders to allocate dollars toward workforce training with a focus on recruiting new business to the state. 

States Seek Slice of Growing Unmanned Aircraft Industry

As the Federal Aviation Administration continues to propose regulations around the fledging unmanned aircraft system (UAS) industry in order to ensure that it integrates into the current system as well as possible, states are beginning to act in order to improve their own competitiveness. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 directed the FAA to establish a test sites program for the UAS, taking into account geographic and climatic diversity, location of ground infrastructure, and research needs in choosing the sites. In December 2013, the FAA announced the selection of six public entities in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas, and Virginia for test sites, all of which became operational in 2014. With test site operations allowed to continue until February 2017 under current law, state agencies, in conjunction with universities and the private sector, are attempting to take advantage of the industry’s vast potential: more than 100,000 jobs created through the year 2025, with an expected economic impact of $82 billion, according to a report by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

Delta Regional Authority Forms 35-Member Public-Private Research, Innovation Consortium

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) announced the establishment of a consortium for research and innovation that is intended to have a long-term positive economic impact on the region. The 35-member consortium will be comprised of universities and other private and public institutions in eight states – Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. DRA selected Arkansas State University to lead the consortium and bring together university research officers and local economic development leadership to support the commercialization efforts and economic impacts of research universities in the DRA's footprint. Founding members of the consortium include Delta State University, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, Southeast Missouri State University, University of Memphis and University of Tennessee at Martin. Read the announcement…

AR, NY Legislatures Approve Economic Development Spending

Over the past few months, SSTI has followed proposals issued by governors in their budget requests, State of the State Addresses, Inaugural Speeches and other events. Now that many state legislatures have begun approving budgets, the Digest will check on the status of these proposals, and examine the state of technology-based economic development funding in the states. This week, we review actions in Arkansas, Mississippi and New York.

Proposed AR Budget Faces Unclear Future, MS Proposal Targets Public Education, Workforce

Over the last couple weeks, governors in Arkansas and Mississippi presented budgets to their stage legislature. In Arkansas, term-limited Gov. Mike Beebe presented two budget proposals for the 2015-17 biennial budget to state lawmakers. However, Gov.-elect Asa Hutchison also will present a budget to the legislature that may differ from Gov. Beebe’s proposal and potentially impact funding for state agencies due to a proposed $100 million individual income tax cut. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant released his fiscal year 2016 (FY16) executive budget recommendations highlighted by a $52 million increase in funding for public education including a $3 million commitment for the Mississippi Works Scholarship Program.

Budget Round Up: States Address Higher Ed Affordability, Research Capacity, Workforce

Several common themes surrounding higher education have emerged as governors across the country unveil investment priorities for the upcoming fiscal year or biennium. In many states, governors have proposed more funding to increase affordability by freezing tuition or creating new scholarship funds. Support for expanding research capacity, technology-related infrastructure and job training in high-demand industries are some of the proposed measures aimed at competitiveness.  

States Position Themselves to Compete in Domestic Drone Industry

While public debate rages over the role of surveillance in our society, one particularly infamous government surveillance technology, drones, is being prepared for private sector deployment in the U.S. Drone-related technologies are predicted to revolutionize commerce in the U.S., with industry projections valuing their initial deployment as an $82 billion boost to the national economy. In preparation for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rollout of drone-use regulations in 2015, entrepreneurs, multinational corporations and state governments are scrambling to be in a competitive position to benefit.

State Strategic Plans Focus on Supporting S&T in Key Sectors

In an era of tightening fiscal constraints, states have to make tough decisions, establish clear economic development funding priorities and transform their economic development models to take advantage of immediate opportunities and position their state for long-term economic growth. Mississippi, Oklahoma and Washington have released state-specific strategic plans that make those tough decisions by focusing their resources on key science & technology (S&T) areas to address the economic impacts of the Great Recession and position the state for future prosperity. Each strategic plan also calls for state government to engage the private sector to build partnerships that will help reduce costs and increase impacts.

Govs Detail New Policies to Broaden Energy-Focused Economic Development

New energy plans unveiled by governors in Connecticut and Mississippi promise to capitalize on current strengths, build capacity for future projects, and encourage public-private partnerships to scale up clean energy projects and create jobs by attracting more R&D investment to the states. Connecticut's draft strategy proposes economic incentives to drive down costs of new technology and maximize the use of clean energy finance banks — an approach that is heralded as a model for other states in a recent policy report. At the same time, a new roadmap for energy opportunities in Mississippi focuses on using available resources to attract businesses while expanding research and training more high-tech workers.