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State budget proposals see some increases for innovation, cuts in LA

January 25, 2018

In this week’s review of state budget proposals, Alabama and Arizona’s governors are proposing funding increases for higher education, while Louisiana is facing cuts due to a budget shortfall. In Hawaii, the governor is seeking supplemental funding for the Hawaii Technology Development Corp to expand its grant making capacity, while Idaho and South Carolina’s governors are seeking more money for workforce programs.


Gov. Kay Ivey’s FY 2018-2019 proposed budget increases funding for The Alabama Innovation Fund, which supports and leverages R&D at the state’s universities. The fund would receive $2.9 million in FY 2019, a 20.7 percent increase from the previous fiscal year.


While more than 80 percent of the new funding in Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s FY 2019 executive budget goes toward K-12 education, the governor also makes other investments to help boost the state’s innovation economy. Notably, the budget would provide $27 million in funding to the state’s three public universities to help pay for $1.0 billion in bonds for investments in R&D infrastructure.  Also included is $2.5 million to fund a Computer Science Pilot Program that offers training opportunities for new computer science teachers in public schools that do not currently offer computer science instruction. Ducey’s proposed budget also includes $1 million for tuition benefits to assist National Guard members in attaining a postsecondary degree or certificate, a program that had not been funded since FY2010.


Hawaii Gov. David Ige has requested the state legislature approve $1.75 million in supplemental funding for the Hawaii Technology Development Corp to expand its grant making capacity during FY 2019.  With the funding increase, the state’s lead technology-based economic development organization would be able to expand the number of awards made through three programs:

  • $500,000 for the Hawaii Small Business Innovation Research Program, one of the nation’s most successful and oldest sustained state SBIR programs, to increase the number of Phase II/III matching grants that can be awarded next year for technology commercialization by Hawaii companies.
  • $500,000 to the Manufacturing Assistance Program to help offset more than $2.5 million in direct costs for Hawaii manufacturers increasing their competitiveness. $750,000 to provide a second year of funding for the Excelerator Program to support existing, and to establish new, startup accelerators for aspiring high-growth-oriented entrepreneurs.


In his FY 2019 budget proposal, Gov. Butch Otter proposed new or increased funding to several programs intended to cultivate a skilled workforce across the state, including:

  • $5 million (a 20 percent increase from FY 2018) for the Opportunity Scholarships Program to help adults between the age of 25 and 34 achieve a post-secondary degree or certificate by 2020.
  • $2 million in new funding for a STEM Computer Science Initiative that would support the needs of educators and industry, including computer science professional development, grants, workforce development, and data and gap analyses related to computer science.


In Gov. John Bel Edwards’ FY 2019 budget proposal, the state would see a $1 billion reduction in spending to account for the expiration of $1 billion in temporary sales taxes. As a result of the shortfall, the state’s TOPS program (Taylor Opportunity Program for Students) would receive $58 million – a $233 million (80 percent) reduction from FY 2018. The TOPS program provides scholarships for Louisiana residents who attend any of the Louisiana public colleges and universities or the Louisiana Community and Technical College system. An additional $26 million in funding would be reduced (as compared to FY 2018) from the state’s higher education budget.

South Carolina

Gov. Henry McMaster’s FY 2019 proposal highlights an intent to spur economic growth by developing new career pathways by creating internships and apprenticeships in high school, helping students achieve associate’s degrees and certificates from technical colleges, and increasing the number of South Carolina residents who achieve four-year bachelor’s degrees and graduate level degrees.

To support the governor’s focus on workforce development, McMaster proposes $5 million in new funds for the creation of the South Carolina Workforce Partnership — an effort intended to establish relationships between technical schools, high schools, and business for workforce development programs.

The state would provide $9.1 million in one-time funding for STEM equipment for high-demand job skills training at the state’s technical colleges. An additional $3 million in one-time funding for “Career & Technology Education” would allow the state’s school district to purchase state-of-the-art workforce training equipment.

The governor also proposes $950,000 for the “Be Pro Be Proud” workforce initiative that would promote degree and certificate programs available at the state’s technical schools to key audiences such as high school and nontraditional students, current skilled professionals, legislators, parents, teachers, career coaches, and employers. 

To support career development in computer related industries, McMaster proposes $3.1 million in non-recurring dollars and $200,000 in recurring funds for an initiative to train new computer science and coding teachers for every school in the state.


Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, South Carolinastate budgets