SSTI Digest

Geography: New Jersey

States Target Research, Commercialization for Economic Growth

A continued trend toward improved fiscal conditions gave rise to targeted and riskier investments in research for several states this legislative session. In particular, lawmakers dedicated funds for life sciences research and for initiatives aimed at commercialization through partnerships with higher education and the private sector. Other states dedicated additional funds to expand promising research and technology-focused initiatives already underway.

AZ, NJ, WI Increase Capital for Entrepreneurship, MN's Angel Tax Credit Closed for 2013

Over the last week, several states have announced/passed new programs focused on increasing the capital available to spur small business growth and innovation. Officials from New Jersey announced the state's new angel tax credit will take effect July 1. In Arizona and Wisconsin two bills await gubernatorial approval that would rework the Arizona R&D tax credit program and establish a $75 million venture capital fund in Wisconsin. Meanwhile, the Minnesota state legislature did not approve an additional $5 million for its popular Small Business Investment Tax Credit.

Flurry of TBED Tax Incentives Pervade State Legislatures amid Increased Scrutiny

Measuring impact is critical to the success and sustainability of any economic development initiative, and as the national debate over fiscal austerity and taxpayer spending continues, TBED organizations can expect increased scrutiny and accountability for their investments.

Voters Reject Tax Increases, Back Bonds for Higher Ed

While election night's main focus was on the presidential race, the importance of ballot measures for states and metros is growing as public services and budgets are being severely trimmed. A recent article in The New Republic reports on a new trend where states are embracing ballot measures as a potential source of dedicated funds for targeted investments in regional economic growth and development.

TBED and the 2012 Ballots

Voters in 37 states will decide on more than 170 ballot measures this year, many of which are related to tech-based economic development (TBED). Tax measures seem to be dominating ballots this year, with questions relating to both decreases and increases for sales, property and income taxes. Several states are counting on voters to agree to temporary increases to help fill budget deficits and ensure steady funding for education.

States, Universities Seek Support for Research Infrastructure

Whether to attract federal grants, keep up with demand to graduate more highly skilled students, or advance the capabilities for research and exploration, universities are pushing for state funding to invest in science buildings and other infrastructure needed to expand research capacity and improve competitiveness. In New Jersey, a measure to approve $750 million in higher education borrowing to build and renovate campus facilities will go to the voters in November. Meanwhile, university leaders in New York and Utah recently pitched proposals to state leaders for new science and technology buildings they say will educate more students and create high-wage jobs.

TBED People & Orgs

Caren Franzini, the CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, stepped down after leading the agency for 21 years. Michele Brown, Gov. Chris Christie's appointments counsel, will take over as CEO.

Governors' Higher Ed Reforms Win Approval in MA, NJ

Two bold proposals seeking to make big changes to community colleges in Massachusetts and New Jersey research universities recently were approved by lawmakers. In Massachusetts, more funding for the state's 15 community colleges is tied to increased oversight, performance measures and integration of workforce development initiatives. Meanwhile, New Jersey lawmakers passed a bill merging a medical and dentistry school with Rutgers University in hopes of strengthening partnerships for research projects and drawing more federal funding. In both states, the governors say the reforms are crucial for economic and job growth.

Mid-Session Update on State TBED Proposals

As many states near the mid-point of their 2012 legislative sessions, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at some of the bills advancing in statehouses that could impact states' efforts to improve economic conditions. Several states are seeking to advance access to capital initiatives as they continue to struggle with declining revenue and tight credit restrictions. The following overview provides a sampling of TBED bills supporting access to capital, R&D enhancements and higher education standards.

Three Universities Intend to Fuel Innovation and Grow Regional Economies with New Initiatives

Michigan State University, Rutgers University and the University of Michigan all have announced new initiatives that are intended to fuel innovation and grow regional economies. Michigan State established the University Center for Regional Economic Innovation — a university-based, economic development research center focused on generating businesses and jobs statewide. Rutgers University created a Disruptive Innovation Fund to provide up to $1 million to support the commercialization of innovative products. The University of Michigan's Michigan Investment in New Technology Startups initiative will invest directly into U-M startup businesses.

NJ Commits $450,000 to New Technology Accelerator Program

The New Jersey Economic Development Agency currently is accepting comments from the state's science and technology (S&T) community on the development and implementation of a new "technology accelerator program." The mentor-based program is intended to create a competitive environment for S&T companies and entrepreneurs to showcase their products, ideas and business acumen for an opportunity to receive funding. Over the next three years, Governor Christie's administration intends to commit approximately $450,000 to the program. Read the press release...

Legislative Wrap-Up II: MA, MN, NJ Dedicate Funds for S&T

Recent legislative actions supporting technology-based economic development include level funding for the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, funding to support programs of the Minnesota Science and Technology Authority and the expansion of two state programs in support of technology and life sciences companies in New Jersey.