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: Montana

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.

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.

AZ, MT, NE state budgets see some funding increase for innovation

SSTI continues its reporting on actions taken by state legislatures to invest in economic growth through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. This week, we look at the budgets passed and signed by governors in Arizona, where R&D infrastructure will get a boost at the state’s public universities, Montana, which will see an increase in funding for some higher education research facilities, and Nebraska, where the state maintained the amount authorized for funding to small businesses for commercialization activities.

Arizona

Tech Talkin’ Govs Part IV: governors talk change, new administration, tech and education

More than half of the country’s governors have delivered their state of the state addresses. Last week’s addresses tended to relate to the national election and the incoming administration, with some governors heralding the change and others pledging to try to reach a bipartisan understanding while standing firm on issues they believe in, like climate change in California. Although TBED issues may not have been at the forefront of the addresses, science, technology and especially innovation and higher education continue to receive attention. This week we zero in on comments delivered by governors in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana and Utah.

Economic and Education Ballot Measures Get Mixed Results

Bond issues supporting higher education goals got mixed results in Tuesday’s election. A bond issue in Rhode Island to be used for the renovation and construction of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Engineering buildings was a winner in this year’s election, receiving 59.3 percent approval. The bond issue that would have created the Montana Biomedical Research Authority was not as lucky, with 56.9 percent of voters there rejecting the measure.

SC, NJ, Others Announce Funding for Industry-Specific Workforce Development

To build 21st century workforces in key S&T sectors, several new public-private initiatives have been launched in South Carolina, New Jersey, Utah, and Montana. These initiatives are intended to better align the educational training of students with the needs of industries that each respective state has identified as a key industry cluster. Target industries include advanced manufacturing, aerospace, biotechnology, chemistry and plastics, and cyber security.

South Carolina

NGA Launches Pilot Program in Six States to Prepare Teens, Millennials for Middle-Skill, STEM Careers

The National Governors Association’s (NGA) Center for Best Practices launched the 2016 Policy Academy on Scaling Work-Based Learning – a pilot program in six states that blends work experience and applied learning to develop youth and young adults’ foundational and technical skills to expand their education, career and employment opportunities. The goal of the program is to connect 16- to 29-year-olds with middle-skills career opportunities in STEM-intensive industries such as advanced manufacturing, health care, information technology and energy.

Budget Update: MO, MT Governors Support Funding for University Research Efforts

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 Missouri and Montana.

Tech Talkin’ Govs: HI, MT Govs Address Innovation Infrastructure, Apprenticeships

SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series has returned as governors across the country formally convene the 2015 legislative sessions. The series highlights new and expanded TBED proposals from governors' State of the State, Budget and Inaugural addresses.

CO, MT Budgets Propose Increased Funding for Infrastructure, Workforce Development

Incumbent governors in Colorado and Montana released their budget proposals this month, with both of the proposed budgets including provisions that prioritize infrastructure spending, workforce development programs, and education. Infrastructure and capital projects in particular were popular among the proposed budgets, with Colorado’s budget allocating $281.6 million to improve technology infrastructure and Montana allocating $300 million for infrastructure, including $45 million to Eastern Montana communities impacted by oil and gas development.

Private Sector Input Drives Montana Business Plan

Montana’s new business plan commissioned by Gov. Steve Bullock outlines five overarching themes, described as pillars, with specific goals, objectives and tasks for diversifying the state’s economy. Encouraging innovation and supporting emerging industries is the focus of one pillar, with recommendations for strengthening the role of universities, establishing funding streams for entrepreneurs, and developing a network of statewide business mentors. The Main Street Montana Project was lead by two top business leaders in the state to ensure private sector buy-in, according to the governor.

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