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: Virginia

States take the lead on climate change

When Gov. Janet Mills addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23, it was the first time a sitting governor of Maine has been asked to address the body. She had been invited as part of her participation in the UN Climate Action Summit 2019, and has made tackling climate change and embracing renewable energy key priorities of her administration. She is not the only governor stepping into the role where the federal government has backed out.

Free tuition offerings continue to evolve in states across the US

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham became the latest governor to propose a plan for free tuition, with what has been called the “one of the most ambitious attempts to make higher education more accessible.” If approved, the plan would allow in-state students to attend any of the 29 state public colleges or universities, regardless of income. It is designed as a “last-dollar” program.

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.

Pilot program matches researchers with economic and community development issues

Vibrant Virginia (VV), a new program from Virginia Tech’s Office of Economic Development, is offering seed grants as a way to encourage faculty and graduate students to explore persistent public policy challenges spanning the state’s urban, suburban, and rural communities.

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.

NJ's and VA’s new governors propose free tuition, workforce programs

New Jersey is considering a state program for free tuition for community college which would be phased in over several years and Virginia is proposing money for a customized workforce recruitment and training incentive program in newly proposed state budgets. Both states have new governors who have revised their predecessors’ budgets, resulting in some additional TBED initiatives in the states.

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.

Newly elected governors support innovation strategies

The innovation economy is a featured component of both newly elected governors’ agendas, with each showing support for TBED-related initiatives in their platforms. In New Jersey, Governor-elect Phil Murphy (D) has pledged to reclaim the state’s innovation economy while in Virginia Governor-elect Ralph Northam (D) proposed a new workforce development plan focused on “the new-collar jobs of the 21st century.”

MI and VA see increases in TBED budget, while MA Gov vetoes some line items

Funding for TBED programs took a hit under Massachusetts Gov. Charles Baker, who vetoed millions of dollars in programs that the legislature had approved in the FY 2018 state budget. Michigan programs fared better with funding maintained to diversify the state’s economy and funding for entrepreneurship ecosystems getting a boost. And in Virginia, after a messy budget process addressing an addendum to its biennial budget, many innovation programs saw increases.

Universities announce investment funds for local startups

While many universities maintain startup investment funds targeted at growing university-affiliated startups, several universities are looking beyond their walls for investment opportunities that will create a return on investment (ROI), but also support economic prosperity. Through these investment funds, universities are able to make strategic investment in startups that will contribute to the future growth of their community, region and state. Massachusetts provides a recent example where MIT will invest $25 million in local startups.

State budgets reviewed for TBED initiatives: AZ, GA, IA, IN, UT, VA

SSTI has analyzed more recently released state budgets for TBED-related initiatives, and this week we present findings from our review of AZ, GA, IA, IN, UT and VA.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, Part II: CO, GA, SC, VA, WA, WY focus on tech needs, education, more

More governors delivered their state of the state addresses and this week we bring you TBED news from governors around the country. Areas of focus include tech infrastructure needs, diversifying economies, cybersecurity and education. While some governors are giving their inaugural addresses, Gov. Nikki Haley used her time to bid farewell. Following are excerpts from the past week’s addresses.

Pages