state budget

MA Lawmakers Pass Economic Development Bill, Awaits Gov Approval

On August 1, the Massachusetts lawmakers enacted a comprehensive economic development bill (H.4377). The bill currently awaits Gov. Deval Patrick’s approval. Per state law, Gov. Patrick has until August 14 to sign the bill, 10 days after he received it. The approved bill that received unanimous approval by the Massachusetts state Senate was passed as a comprise package between two bills proposed in the Senate and House.

Crowdfunding Exemptions, Tax Credits Among Capital Programs Passed by State Policymakers

Several states announced new or expansions to existing capital programs during the 2014 legislative session. The proposals targeted increasing the availability of venture/risk capital for job creation and establishing or expanding angel tax credits to spur investment in targeted sectors. Nebraska lawmakers allocated $50,000 to support and increase venture capital in the state. In Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton extended the state’s Angel Tax credit for two more years and added additional funds.

To continue the growing trend of intrastate crowdfunding, six states passed exemptions including Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Tennessee, and Washington.

States Shift Priorities Toward Long-Term Research Capacity Building

With an eye toward long-term payoffs associated with investments in research, lawmakers dedicated funds and strengthened ties with industry partners. Some states made significant investments in facilities and R&D to grow cancer research capabilities, while others looked to universities to establish new avenues for discovery or attract star researchers. In Washington, the life sciences community banded together to save a nine year-old grant fund that invests in R&D and helps the state remain competitive.

Lawmakers Tackle Workforce, STEM and Higher Ed Policy

Addressing accessibility, affordability and ensuring workforce preparedness topped legislators’ agendas in many states during the 2014 sessions. States and regions are increasingly competing for talent as the trend toward growing and nurturing innovation ecosystems continues.

Lab Space, Commercialization Support Backed by State Governments

State legislators in many parts of the country took action this year to fund the construction of research infrastructure and provide financial support for commercialization. In Kansas, New York, Georgia, Maine and Wyoming, legislators funded the construction of laboratories and other innovative spaces at public universities to boost the high-tech economy. In Colorado, Maryland and a number of universities, new initiatives were rolled out to support public-private research collaborations and the commercialization of cutting-edge technology.

Manufacturing Resurgence Attracts Attention of State Legislatures

The recent uptick in U.S. manufacturing activity, along with the attention generated by additive manufacturing and the Makers movement, has led to an increase in state initiatives to help cash in on this growth. In recent months, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and Arizona have all taken steps to build stronger manufacturing sectors through research collaborations, grants and tax credits. Leaders in Colorado and New Jersey have pursued their own cluster-specific efforts to build stronger high-tech industries.

Mixed Bag for Michigan Talent Initiatives in FY15 Budget

Lawmakers approved funding for a bond program that dedicates $50 million for re-tooling community colleges with the latest equipment, but failed to pass a larger proposal that would allow universities to compete for $100 million in bond funds for capital improvements to enhance engineering programs. The budget also includes $2 million to establish a new fund for global marketing of Michigan’s automotive sector and support of public-private collaborations with the auto industry.

Missouri Technology Corp to Administer New Grants, Gets $5M Boost for Core Programs

With nearly $10 million in additional funding for the upcoming year, the public-private Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) will receive a boost in support for core programs and new resources to administer early stage business grants. MTC invests in emerging high-tech companies with a focus on bioscience industries.

LA Lawmakers Challenge Higher Ed to Meet Workforce Needs with $40M Incentive Fund

A project underway between IBM and Louisiana State University’s School of Engineering aims to better meet employer needs by tripling the number of computer science graduates in five years. Hoping to generate more partnerships like these, lawmakers approved legislation supported by Gov. Bobby Jindal that allows colleges and universities to compete for funds in an effort to produce graduates in high-demand areas. A smaller percentage of the funds distributed under the new Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy (WISE) Fund will be based on federally funded research expenditures.

Transition to Privatize Economic Development Outlined in NC Budget

Building on a bare bones structure for privatizing economic development established last session, Gov. Pat McCrory outlined a plan for transitioning the state’s Department of Commerce to a public-private partnership, effective July 1. The move, according to the governor, will allow for more flexibility to support businesses and achieve savings for the state. Several innovation-focused investments also were presented as part of the recommended state budget adjustments for FY15, including matching and incentive funds for early stage, high-tech companies and funding to assist campuses in commercializing technology.

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