• Join your peers at SSTI's 2024 Annual Conference!

    Join us December 10-12 in Arizona to connect with and learn from your peers working around the country to strengthen their regional innovation economies. Visit ssticonference.org for more information and to register today.

  • Become an SSTI Member

    As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies.  Learn more about membership...

  • Subscribe to the SSTI Weekly Digest

    Each week, the SSTI Weekly Digest delivers the latest breaking news and expert analysis of critical issues affecting the tech-based economic development community. Subscribe today!

State Budgets Target Investments in Workforce, Higher Education

January 15, 2015

As governors around the country begin their newest terms, their proposed budgets are beginning to take shape. Although few governors specifically target technology based economic development, after the first wave of budgets a variety of initiatives related to workforce development and higher education have garnered support. 



Gov. Jerry Brown released his proposal for a $164.7 billion budget for FY 2015-16 with a $113.3 billion general fund. As budget deliberations continue until June 15th, it is expected that resistance will come from both the University of California (UC) system and Democratic policymakers hoping to restore the health and social services programs that were reduced during the most recent recession. 

Of the general fund, 12.4 percent is projected to go toward higher education, with the UC and the California State University (CSU) system each receiving about $3.1 billion, and the California Community College (CCC) system receiving $8.1 billion. By providing an increase of $119.5 million to both, both the UC system and the CSU system will be able to hold tuition flat. The budget also provides $25 million for innovation awards, recognizing CSU institutions that implement innovations leading to more timely degree completion. California’s community colleges, which educate far more students than either the UC or CSU systems, would receive an additional $125 million for operating expenses, and $200 million to improve and expand student success programs and to strengthen efforts to assist underrepresented students.

Workforce development programs that receive funding include a $500 million block grant to support elementary and secondary basic skills for immigrants, educational programs for adults with disabilities, and short-term career technical education programs. The budget also provides $250 million in matching incentive grants to school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education for career technical education (CTE) programs.  CTE programs provide students, particularly those at risk of dropping out, with career and college readiness skills. Also included in the budget is $14.1 million to grow existing apprenticeship programs and $15 million to create new apprenticeship projects that focus on new and emerging industries with unmet labor market demand. 

Read the governor’s announcement…



The $31 billion FY 2016-17 biennial budget presented by Gov. Mike Pence features a modest spending increase of  2 percent in the first year and 1 percent in the second year and includes increased funding for schools (with an emphasis on private school vouchers and charter schools), tourism, and transportation.

Gov. Pence’s also proposes considerable funding to several initiatives related to economic development. The Regional Cities Initiative, which focuses on talent attraction and the quality of place elements needed to drive population and investment growth, is set to receive $84 million in FY 2016-17 under the proposed budget. In FY17, the budget also proposes $19.2 million in cash funding for the construction of an Indiana University Medical School in Evansville.

Read the governor’s announcement…



The $14.8 billion biennial general fund budget proposed by Gov. Terry Branstad maintains a tuition freeze at state universities, reforms education programs, and supports broadband infrastructure. In total, Branstad proposes an additional $320 million in new dollars for Iowa’s schools over the biennium, with education representing 55 percent of the total budget.

In addition to holding tuition steady at state universities, Gov. Branstad proposes $64.3 million between fiscal years 2016-18 to replace and improve the University of Iowa Pharmacy building and $50 million between FY 2016-18 to construct and renovate biosciences facilities at Iowa State University.

Read the governor’s announcement…



The $3.1 billion FY16 budget proposed by Gov. Butch Otter outlines the state’s plans for road and bridge improvements, a reduced income tax rate, and increased pay and health care for state workers. Also included is $1.2 million to increase student enrollment, research funding, and industry interactions in the compute science program at Boise State University. Idaho State University is requesting $1.7 million to support the career path internship program, a work/study program that offers relevant experience to undergraduate and graduate interns. The state’s research institutions will also receive $325,000 to establish new and innovative research projects, providing funds for equipment, technician support, new hires, and incentives to reward faculty members.     

Read the governor’s announcement…



Gov. Paul LePage’s $6.3 billion FY 2016-17 biennial budget plan includes investments in public safety, reforms to welfare provisions, and major changes to the state’s tax structure. If fully implemented, the state’s ranking would improve from 33rd to 23rd on the Tax Foundation State Business Tax Climate Index, according to a publication released by the think-tank in anticipation of the budget.

Within Gov. LePage’s proposed budget, $17.35 million is allocated in each year of the biennium to the Maine Economic Improvement Fund (MEIF) within the University of Maine System, including an increase of $2.65 million in each year. The MEIF provides university researchers with the capital needed to leverage federal and private sector research grants and contracts. An additional $5.3 million is allocated to the University of Maine system, including its five small campuses, for research funding that promotes innovation and accelerates commercialization.

More than $7 million in each year is allocated for the Office of Innovation within the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development. The Office of Innovation promotes research and development in the state and, in addition to funding technology transfer activities and inter-institutional research efforts, supports the Maine Technology Institute and its startup assistance programs.

Read the governor’s announcement…


New Mexico

Gov. Susana Martinez proposed a $6.3 billion budget featuring a variety of education initiatives and a $50 million “closing fund” for business expansion and relocation. Also included is $1 million for the Technology Research Collaborative (TRC) to improve tech transfer from the state’s national labs and universities and an increase of $900,000 for the University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center.  

Within workforce, Gov. Martinez proposes $5.5 million in non-recurring funding for the Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP), supporting the growth of small businesses throughout the state. This represents an increase of $1.5 million over the current budget.

Read the governor’s announcement…


South Carolina

Gov. Nikki Haley’s $6.9 billion FY 2015-16 executive budget emphasizes education and social services, with an emphasis on mental health and disabilities. Within the budget, Gov. Haley proposes $6 million to support job training initiatives in manufacturing, STEM, and healthcare, with $3 million going towards equipment and facilities at regional technical colleges and $3 million to support instructional staff and facilities.  Budget language indicates, “There are no funds appropriated for ‘innovation’ in the Executive Budget.”

Read the governor’s announcement…


West Virginia

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s proposed $4.8 billion budget for FY 2016 would offer support for the state’s natural gas industry, and recommends new avenues to use the state’s energy resources to boost revenues. The governor is calling for new studies to improve energy worker safety and investigate ways to use the state’s land resources to leverage funds that can be used for economic development. Under the proposed budget, the state would expand technical training programs at public community colleges and high schools to meet the demand of high-tech and energy employers.

Read the governor’s executive summary…


California, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, South Carolina, West Virginiastate budget