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.


Proposed changes to MSA standards creating concern

In January, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) posted a request for public comment on the recommendations it has received from the Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Standards Review Committee for changes to metropolitan and micropolitan statistical area standards. The 123 comments that have been recorded to date reflect a level of concern regarding changing the population threshold for urban areas and the impact on future funding that would have for these areas.

Input sought on Appalachia’s economic future

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is seeking public input to help identify critical opportunities and challenges facing Appalachia’s economic future through a series of virtual sessions taking place in April. ARC will use the insights gathered from these public sessions in the development of a strategic plan to inform investment priorities for fiscal years 2022-2026. Sessions are free, but pre-registration is required.

Innovation Equity District launching in Austin, TX

To bolster its already thriving technology sector, the city of Austin, Texas, has partnered with Opportunity Hub (OHUB) and others from industry and academia to bring a new Equity District to the city.

SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council holds virtual Hill Days to support federal innovation programs

Last week, members of SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council headed online for this year’s Hill Days in support of increases to FY 2022 appropriations for key innovation programs. Congresswoman Haley Stevens, vice-chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, kicked off the meetings by speaking with the IAC members. Stevens focused the group on the importance of science and innovation in helping to address the country’s immediate crises, as well as improving our long-term competitiveness.

$1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act boosts help for innovation

The American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion spending package to address the ongoing health and economic impacts of COVID-19, was signed into law today. The legislation includes several initiatives that could strengthen regional innovation economies. Most notable among these is the $10 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), $3 billion for the Economic Development Administration (EDA), and $350 billion for state and local government relief.

SSBCI Reauthorization

Useful Stats: SBIR awards per 1,000 innovation research establishments by state, 2019

States often estimate their participation in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program by counting the number of awards made, total of award value, or (when available) the success rate of applications in their state. In this edition of SSTI Useful Stats, we attempt to go beyond these measures to estimate states’ untapped potential for capturing future SBIR awards. This creates a baseline proxy for tailoring and assessing a state’s outreach and support activities.

Kansas reveals first economic development plan in 30 years, shifts focus to innovation

Last month, Gov. Laura Kelly (D), alongside former state governors Mike Hayden (R) and John Carlin (D), and the Lt. Gov. and Secretary of Commerce David Toland, announced “Framework for Growth”, the state’s first economic development plan in over 30 years. The plan, which was a year in the making, is a collaborative effort that involves input from over 2,000 Kansans, the staff of the Department of Commerce, and two former governors.

State revenues not hit as hard by pandemic as anticipated

State revenues experienced their steepest plunge in 25 years in the final quarter of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, according to a recent analysis by Pew. It also notes that while some of those revenues were expected to be recovered, nearly half of all states were still projecting revenue declines this fiscal year.

Researchers find mixed results from Opportunity Zones

In an event organized by the Hutchins Center on fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings, academics from some of the nation’s leading universities sought to answer questions centered around Opportunity Zones (OZs), including what is the goal of OZs, are they helping, and how would we know? The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created more than 8,700 Opportunity Zones (OZs) across the United States. The program was intended to spur economic development in distressed communities and offered favorable capital gains tax treatment to investments in such locations.

Senate restructures science, commerce subcommittees

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation announced a new structure for its subcommittees in the 117th Congress, bringing the total number from six to seven. The subcommittees are:

Kauffman updates entrepreneurship policy platform

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Start Us Up coalition announced an update to the America’s New Business Plan platform to advance entrepreneurship. The update places a strong emphasis on the importance of addressing the historical inequities of the American economy, as well as the urgent concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. The lead-in to the specific policy proposals also acknowledges the importance of providing sufficient support to new companies, not just all small businesses.

Workforce, broadband, rural investments at play in governors’ plans for economic development

As governors continue to roll out their State-of-the State addresses in the month of February, we continue to see a heavy focus on recovering from the pandemic. Given most state’s fiscal condition, governors have been generally hesitant to roll out new initiatives during this time, although broadband continues to receive attention, especially with the renewed attention surrounding its importance during the pandemic.

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