Funding for tech-based economic development in the federal FY 2024 budget

Editor’s note (April 4, 2024): This article has been updated to reflect relevant programs included in the second of two FY 2024 omnibus appropriations bills.

Congress to fund Commerce and Science agencies in first half of FY 2024 action

More than five months into fiscal year 2024, Congress has approved an agreement covering six of the twelve annual appropriations bills. Many tech-based economic development (TBED) programs received funding equal to the FY 2023 base appropriation—a strong sign of support for a year in which Congress agreed to return to FY 2022 overall spending levels and many programs across the federal government, therefore, saw cuts. However, because Congress has not agreed to provide again the supplemental funding that fueled robust spending last year, the FY 2024 budget actually provides hundreds of millions of dollars less in total TBED spending than was appropriated in FY 2023.

Shutdown watch: What will congressional inaction mean for TBED?

As of this writing, Congress has yet to agree to fund the federal government beyond this Saturday, Sept. 30. Major media outlets are covering the play-by-play of these developments—i.e., the Senate’s slow progress toward a weekend vote on a continuing resolution and uncertainty about the House—and providing some information about broad effects, but how would a shutdown affect tech-based economic development (TBED) programs? The answer varies by agency and program, with many details remaining unclear, even at this late hour.

SSTI joins letter asking Congress to fund Tech Hubs

A group of technology-related organizations, including SSTI, is asking Congress to support the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs program with additional, substantial appropriations in FY 2024. This new letter is a follow-up to one sent by SSTI and a broader group of organizations earlier in the year. So far, the appropriations committees in each chamber have proposed $41 million for Tech Hubs in FY 2024. While this amount is consistent with the level funded by last year’s regular appropriations bills, it is much less than the $500 million in total provided in FY 2023—and well short of the $3 billion authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act. SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council and organizations signing onto both letters continue to urge Congress to fund the program at its authorized level so that EDA can implement Tech Hubs at a scale that can achieve its mission of catalyzing globally competitive regional economies throughout the country.

Senate committee continues Commerce, Science funding for FY 2024

The Senate appropriations committee advanced a set of FY 2024 funding bills this morning that largely continue level funding from FY 2023. While the full bill text is not yet available, a press release about the commerce and science bill identified $200 million for the Engines program at NSF, $175 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership at NIST, and $50 million for Build to Scale, $41 million for Tech Hubs, and $2.5 million for the STEM Talent Challenge at EDA. These amounts are all inline with the funding provided through regular FY 2023 appropriations but do not yet include any of the supplementary amounts included in last year’s omnibus (e.g., Tech Hubs was funded at a total of $500 million in FY 2023); see SSTI’s article on FY 2023 funding for details. The House subcommittee overseeing commerce and science funding is expected to advance its FY 2024 bill tomorrow morning. Senate appropriations also advanced funding for SBA this morning, but program funding levels are unavailable.

SSTI members support innovation programs on the Hill

The SSTI Innovation Advocacy Council continues to work toward additional appropriations for Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs, Build to Scale, and the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership. This week, the Council facilitated meetings with SSTI members and congressional offices to discuss funding priorities. SSTI also released a letter signed by 70 national and regional entities that support fully-funding the Tech Hubs program.

White House proposes robust innovation funding for FY 2024 and beyond

The White House released the President’s Budget for FY 2024 today, and the administration is making a strong statement of support for science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. Highlights from the request include more than $4 billion for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs, $300 million for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Regional Innovation Engines, $277 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and a total of $30 million for the three primary Small Business Administration (SBA) innovation programs. Congress is not likely to adopt the president’s budget as-is, but the proposal may factor into the negotiations throughout the appropriations process. More information on the president’s budget is available below.

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