State Budget Roundup: IN Legislators Approve Funding for Regional Cities Initiative

April 30, 2015

Over the past few months, SSTI has followed proposals issued by governors in their budget requests, State of the State Addresses, Inaugural Speeches and other events. Now that many state legislatures have begun approving budgets, the Digest will check on the status of these proposals, and examine the state of technology-based economic development funding in the states. This week, we review actions in Alaska, Colorado and Indiana.

Alaska
The Alaskan legislature reached a fiscal year 2016 operating budget agreement earlier this week (HB 72), but were unable to close a $3 billion gap. Gov. Bill Walker convened a special session on Wednesday to demand that lawmakers find a way to balance the budget.

Under the current agreement, legislators allocated $3 million for economic development and $11.5 million for an eighth round of renewable energy project grants through the Alaska Energy Authority.

Colorado
Last Friday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a $25 billion budget (SB15-234) that includes increases in school funding, new investment in transportation infrastructure and refunds for taxpayers. The state's economic growth over the past year resulted in a significant increase in tax revenues, which by law must be refunded to taxpayers when revenues exceed population growth, according to the Associated Press. About $70 million in rebates is budgeted for next year, with another $117 million reserved for the following year.

The budget provides $59 million for state economic development programs, including $5.8 million for economic incentives and marketing through the Economic Development Commission, $4.5 million for Colorado First Customized Job Training, and $15.5 million to accelerate advanced industries.

Indiana
Gov. Mike Pence and legislators have reached an agreement on a $31 billion biennial budget (HB 1001). Under the new budget, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) would receive $6.7 million in fiscal year 2015-16 and $6.5 million for FY 2016-17. Indiana's 21st Century Research and Technology Fund is allotted $40 million for the biennium. The Skills Enhancement Fund will receive $25 million, and the Industrial Development Grant program is funded at $10 million. The state's matching grant program for local and regional economic development groups would receive $568,824 for the biennium, while the economic development grant and loan program will receive $1.7 million.

Funds are provided for the launch of Indiana's new Regional Cities Development Fund. The program would operate under IEDC with $84 million in funding for the biennium. These funds would help city-based regions develop economic strategic plans and encourage regional collaboration.

Alaska, Colorado, Indianastate budget