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Western Govs Target Education in FY17 Spending Plans

December 17, 2015

A number of governors around the U.S. have already begun rolling out budget proposals for the next legislative session. This week, SSTI examines gubernatorial spending recommendations related to research, commercialization, STEM education and entrepreneurship in Alaska, South Dakota and Utah. See our previous article on proposals in Florida and Wyoming.

Gov. Bill Walker released a $4.8 billion budget plan for fiscal year 2017, along with details of his administration’s plan to achieve long-term financial stability. The state’s budget would again be streamlined to address a $3.5 billion deficit resulting from the decline in oil prices and production, but Gov. Walker has also proposed a more extensive set of structural adjustments. Under the New Sustainable Alaska Plan, the state would reduce spending, restructure the Alaska Permanent Fund, institute the first personal income tax in more than 30 years, and pursue a natural gas pipeline project.

Though the reductions would be less severe than last year, funding for state agencies would be again streamlined, with agency appropriations down 11 percent since FY 2015. The University of Alaska would be funded at $335 million, down 4 percent from FY16. Funding for the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development would be reduced by 28 percent to $21.9 million in unrestricted general funds.

Download the proposal at: https://www.omb.alaska.gov/html/budget-report/fy2017-budget/proposed.html

South Dakota
Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s proposed $4.8 billion budget for FY17 would increase K-12 education funding by 3 percent, technical institute funding by 3 percent and university Board of Regents funding by 2.6 percent. Additional funds would be used to freeze university tuition. Read more details at: http://bfm.sd.gov/budget/rec17/index.htm .

Gov. Gary Herbert released details of his $14.8 billion FY17 proposal, with an emphasis on increasing funding for public and higher education. The governor’s plan would provide $5 million for Utah System of Higher Education market demand programs, including the expansion of the aerospace manufacturing program if it is supported as an institutional priority. The market demand programs help expand or create academic programs to meet specific market demands. The Utah Education and Telehealth Network initiative would receive $4.4 million to improve statewide technology infrastructure and $1.7 million for the Utah Futures program.

Funding for the Utah Science, Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative would remain steady under the governor’s plan, and effort would receive $22.2 million in FY17. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development would receive $34.5 million in general funds, a slight increase from FY16 including $3 million in one-time funding for the state’s STEM Action Center.

Air quality is also included as a budget priority, with $250,000 allocated for air quality research.

Download the budget proposal at: https://site.secure.utah.gov/gomb/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2015/12/FY-2017-Governors-Budget-Recommendations.pdf

Alaska, South Dakota, Utahstate budget