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: Oregon

Treasury announces five more states’ plans approved for SSBCI

Five additional state plans for the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) have received approval from the U.S. Department of Treasury, bringing the current total of announced states to 19. Over the past month, Treasury announcedthat plans in Colorado, Montana, New York, North Carolina and Oregon were approved. Some details on the plans are outlined below.

Energy storage startup with government-sponsored funding goes public

ESS Inc., a company that closed a deal to go public earlier this month, was able to leverage public capital at its early stages to accelerate its success as a startup. Founded in 2011, the Wilsonville, Oregon, based company manufactures batteries for long-duration energy storage applications. In 2012, ESS Inc. received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from ARPA-E, and additional grant support from the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI), an SSTI member. ONAMI is an Oregon-based non-profit that provides grants, equity funding and business development guidance to startups engaged in research-based scientific innovation. It receives funding from Business Oregon, also an SSTI member.

Oregon economy hinges on ability to encourage innovation

Facing current challenges and a changing economy, Oregon is turning to innovation-based economic growth. Their new 10-year Innovation Plan focuses on ensuring a competitive position through four means — traded sector industries that constantly innovate; a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem; financial capital markets that are open to investing in innovative firms and entrepreneurs; and promoting itself as a place to start and grow in innovative company.

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. Many are also acting quickly to help mitigate the effects of lost revenues and an increased demand for services. Some of the states’ impacts and actions are outlined below.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2019, part 2: Broadband, education, climate change fixes on governors’ radars

Reviewing another slate of governors’ state of the state and inaugural addresses reveals some recurring themes. With a focus on maintaining gains made since the Great Recession and increasing budgets, many governors are holding off on major new initiatives, but are proposing means to increase broadband access, diversify their economies, build renewable energy efforts, and increase their rainy day funds in case of an economic downturn. SSTI presents part 2 of our Tech Talkin’ Govs series, with coverage of governors in Colorado, Connecticut, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2018, part 5: IL, OK, OR, PA, TN looking to enhance workforce, build economies

Governors are continuing their annual address to legislators and constituents and workforce development continues to take center stage, with the governor of Oregon rolling out a new five-step plan she hopes will invigorate the economy and close the skills gap while Oklahoma acknowledged difficult times and Tennessee says it may achieve an education goal two years ahead of schedule.

Manufacturing technology central to expanded Oregon innovation budget

State spending for the Oregon innovation economy during the 2017-2019 biennium in the Oregon Business Development Department received a sharp increase, thanks in part to nearly $14 million of funding for the new Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center (OMIC).  According to the Business Oregon website, “OMIC brings together as founding partners The Boeing Company, the broader regional metals manufacturing industry and employers, Portland Community College (PCC), Portland State University (PSU), Oregon State University (OSU), Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT)” for collaborative applied research and to address advanced technical training needs in the industry. Funding is distributed among a number of sources in the state budget:

Oregon lets R&D tax credit expire – will others follow?

At least three dozen states offer reductions in tax obligations to companies for some portion of the costs of the businesses conducting research and development within their particular state. During the 2017 session, one fewer could be included among the ranks. With little documented opposition, the Oregon legislature decided to get out of the R&D tax credit business altogether (p. 41, source).  Why? Are there lessons for other states’ advocates for innovation?

Tech Talkin Govs, Part VII: NC, NH and OR focus on education, workforce

Educational initiatives continue to dominate in state of the state, budget and inaugural addresses, with governors in North Carolina, New Hampshire and Oregon all acknowledging its importance in the workforce development sphere and the future competitiveness of the states.

Pages