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WA Gov Proposes Plan for Business Climate, STEM Education

April 03, 2013

Gov. Inslee of Washington released his budget request for the 2013-2015 biennium in his Working Washington plan. Among the priorities are STEM educational investments and clean energy research and development. Overall, the Governor's proposed budget totals more than $34.4 billion, and would result in nearly $532 million in reserves, without proposing new taxes.

Working Washington will attempt to improve the business climate of the state through enhanced funding for STEM education, secondary education aerospace training, and tax relief for new businesses in high-growth sectors.

Specifically, the budget calls for the elimination of tax breaks deemed inefficient, as well as reducing the value of the special tax rates on business and occupation by 25 percent, except for the aerospace and radioactive waste cleanup sectors.

The budget proposal would keep tuition at community and technical colleges constant over the next two years. To further help with the training and development of a student body in the STEM fields, and get these students connected to employers, $11 million would be used to create an enrollment pool for the public four-year colleges, and another $5 million would be used to create a similar pool for community and technical colleges. An additional $20 million would be committed to expand the STEM capacity of community and technical colleges.

The budget also proposes a Clean Energy Institute at the University of Washington that would focus on energy storage and solar energy. To assist in the procurement of grants and the development of technologies, the budget also would invest in Washington State University's Center for Bioproducts and Biofuels. Together, $17.2 million would be committed to these projects.

To help higher educational institutions compete for federal funding for clean energy solutions and advanced manufacturing centers, $20 million would be set aside to provide matching funds to research institutions in the state. Another $3 million would go to grants and loans for public-private partnerships working on biofuel production methods.

Washingtonstate budget, stem, cleantech, r&d