SSTI Digest

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Geography: Rhode Island

Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 3: Economic development, broadband, education and climate change driving governors’ innovation agendas

This week, we see broadband investment in Indiana; education initiatives that begin with pre-K and extend beyond high school in a number of states; lifelong learning approaches; apprenticeships; climate change and green energy initiatives in Nevada and Washington; and more on governors’ agendas. As governors across the country continue to deliver their state of the state addresses to their legislatures and constituents, SSTI monitors the speeches for news of innovation related initiatives.

Rhode Island announces $12 million for Innovation Campus projects

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has announced the first three projects for the state’s Innovation Campus Program, an effort to support the commercialization of academic research in key industries such as cybersecurity, data analytics and agricultural technology. The centers, in partnership with the University of Rhode Island and located in Kingston and Providence, will receive a combined $12 million from the state. The funding stems from a $20 million innovation bond approved by the state’s voters in 2016.

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.

Policymakers leverage public libraries to promote innovation

For hundreds of years, libraries have helped drive American innovation by serving as a trusted resource and providing information to a wide range of individuals. As libraries continue to implement their own initiatives in this space, policymakers across the country have recently turned to them as a way to level the playing field around workforce development and entrepreneurial support.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2018, part 3: DE, NM, RI, VA, WV governors focus on education, jobs for innovation initiatives

SSTI’s Tech Talkin’ Govs feature continues as governors across the country roll out their state of the state addresses. We review each speech for comments relevant to the innovation economy, and bring you their words directly from their addresses. In this third installment, we present excerpts from governors in Delaware, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia.

Many of the governors across the country are delivering the final addresses and taking the time to look back over their term on accomplishments while others are looking forward to new initiatives. The Delaware governor’s comments in the innovation space centered on jobs and strengthening training opportunities while in New Mexico the governor is term limited and she took the opportunity to focus on jobs and manufacturing partnership with Mexico. The Rhode Island governor, who has indicated she will run for reelection this year, focused on education, job training and small business. Growth in the state’s clean energy industry was an accomplishment touted by the outgoing governor in Virginia. And in West Virginia, the governor is interested in free technical and community colleges.

States of Innovation 2017: Free tuition moving into more state toolboxes

This week we continue our series on state legislation pertaining to the innovation economy that has been enacted this year around the country. This second installment of the States of Innovation 2017 series deals with free tuition.

A number of states took action to increase the education and skills of their workforce by implementing free or greatly reduced tuition programs at either community colleges or state colleges. The move to increase access to higher education while not new, took up increased urgency this year. With Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Tennessee all taking action this past year, Maine and North Carolina were among others considering other options but as of today’s publication not moving the proposals forward.

Kansas and Rhode Island emerge from contentious budget process

After arduous processes in both Kansas and Rhode Island, the states have newly-enacted budgets in place that have retained some funding for TBED initiatives. Kansas was able to fund programs that will focus on a skilled workforce and research and development, while Rhode Island will see the creation of a pilot program for free tuition at community colleges through a scaled-back version of the governor’s proposed RI Promise.

Kansas 

Government innovation offices popping up

Government offices focused on innovation have been around for several years, yet some states and even the federal government are seeking new ways to incorporate the concept into their offices. This week the White House announced a new Office of American Innovation, while earlier this month Rhode Island used its Office of Innovation to launch a new effort called the Government Innovation League, and in January Ohio’s governor proposed funding a new state office focused on innovation, emerging technologies and their job-creation potential.

TBED funding to increase in some state budgets, cut in others; CA, HI, MN, NV, ND, RI

SSTI has reviewed another mix of state budgets as governors across the country continue to release their proposals. Some states, like California and North Dakota, are seeing cuts in the amount of money designated for TBED-related work, while others like Minnesota are in a more favorable fiscal situation and continue to fund such initiatives. Still others, like Rhode Island, are proposing new initiatives.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, Part III: AK, IN, MI, NM, NV, RI talk feature education, workforce initiatives

SSTI’s latest Tech Talkin’ Govs installment excerpts TBED highlights from governors’ speeches in Alaska, Indiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada and Rhode Island. Education and workforce are focal points in this latest round of the state of the state addresses, as they have been in the two previous posts. Varying issues are factored into the speeches, from the $3 billion fiscal gap in Alaska to the proposed free college tuition in Rhode Island.

Alaska

Rhode Island latest state proposing free tuition

In an attempt to make college more affordable and accelerate the number of students completing degree programs in Rhode Island, Gov. Gina Raimondo has proposed a new program guaranteeing two years of free college for Rhode Island students. The program, Rhode Island’s Promise, would cover the entire cost of tuition and mandatory fees for full-time students who qualify for in-state tuition earning an associate’s degree and graduating on time from the Community College of Rhode Island. At Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island, the scholarship would cover tuition and fees for a student’s junior and senior years.

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