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: New Jersey

States launching innovation initiatives across the country

Proving that innovation is appealing to states regardless of their size or political leanings, new initiatives in both Democratic and Republican states, as well as large states like California and small states like Vermont, are driving innovation agendas into action in areas ranging from clean energy and aid for students and colleges, to new venture capital investments and bond financing to support business collaborations with higher education to help translate cutting-edge research into products and companies.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2020: AZ, CO, NJ, NY, VT spotlight climate, higher ed, rural and workforce proposals

Governors are continuing to roll out their state of the state addresses and this week’s SSTI review highlights differences in the states economies: while Arizona is enjoying population growth Vermont is struggling to attract workers. More states are focusing proposals on climate change and clean energy initiatives, with New York proposing a $3 billion bond initiative to build resiliency, and Colorado, New Jersey and Vermont proposing clean energy and climate initiatives as well.  Rural broadband, higher education and workforce initiatives also are throughout the state addresses.

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.

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.

Several states in play this election cycle for innovation initiatives, gubernatorial and legislative elections

As voters head to the polls next week, some will be deciding the fate of innovation and development-related initiatives, while voters in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi will be voting in gubernatorial elections. The initiatives include a possible additional $3 billion in Texas for cancer research. And in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia, legislative chambers are holding regular elections. Those races and initiatives are covered below.

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.

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.

Free tuition offerings continue to evolve in states across the US

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham became the latest governor to propose a plan for free tuition, with what has been called the “one of the most ambitious attempts to make higher education more accessible.” If approved, the plan would allow in-state students to attend any of the 29 state public colleges or universities, regardless of income. It is designed as a “last-dollar” program.

NJ governor signs bills to expand angel investment tax credits, fund TBED

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed multiple bills late last month that may help position the state as a leader in technology-based economic development. One bill increases the tax credit for angel investors in qualified technology companies, with even larger credits available for investments in women- and minority-owned businesses and those located in low-income areas. Meanwhile, the state’s approved FY 2020 budget includes $1.0 million for the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation, and Technology. After nearly a decade of receiving no funding from the state, this marks the second consecutive year that the commission will receive $1.0 million to support technology-based economic development.

Tech Talkin’ Govs part 4: Opportunity Zones, workforce development, tech hubs, and more in governors plans to build economies

Governors are reaching into their toolkits to build tech-based economies, utilizing Opportunity Zones, tax credits, broadband infrastructure and workforce development initiatives among other things. This week, as we continue to review their state of the state addresses for TBED news, we see some governors still trying to reshape their states’ struggling economies while others are building on past successes and proposing new initiatives.

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.

NJ proposes $500 million venture capital fund

Inclusive workforce development, downtown revitalization, and an influx of funds for venture capital are among the proposals in an economic development strategy unveiled by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy earlier this week. In an effort to focus on bottom-up development rather than a package of tax incentive programs favoring big businesses, the strategy seeks to build the nation’s “most diverse and inclusive innovation economy.”

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