state tbed

Lawmakers Tackle Workforce, STEM and Higher Ed Policy

This article is part of SSTI's series on trends in state technology-based economic development legislation in 2014. Read our other entries covering legislative action on patent reform, research capacity, technology commercialization & infrastructure, tax credits & STEM and manufacturing & clusters.

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.

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.  

Vermont Gov Seeks $5M in Lending Support for Startups

Two proposals announced by Gov. Peter Shumlin would provide additional lending tools and incentives to attract and retain technology companies using revenue surpluses for the current fiscal year. The first proposal would establish the Vermont Enterprise Incentive Fund and authorize the governor to offer an incentive package not exceeding $4.5 million to businesses that have a substantial statewide or regional economic or employment impact. The second part adds $500,000 in state general funds to the $1 million in federal funds available to the Vermont Economic Development Authority’s Entrepreneurial Lending program. The program will create a loan loss reserve to reduce the risk of lending to the startup tech sector, according to the governor’s press office. Read the announcement.

MA Gov Announces Innovation-Focused Economic Development Package

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has unveiled an economic development package intended to bolster the state’s role in the global tech economy through multi-year investments totaling an estimated $100 million. More details will be available soon, but the package includes a new Global Entrepreneur in Residence Program that will help entrepreneurial foreign students remain in the country even without H-1B visas, an expansion of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s internship and mentoring program, recapitalization of the MassVentures public venture fund, an expanded R&D tax credit program, and a new Middle Skills Job Training Grant Fund. The governor also is proposing to eliminate non-compete clauses for tech businesses, a move modeled on policies in California. More details…

WA Life Sciences Community Steps up to Help Save Grant Fund

Pointing to the growth potential in jobs and health within the life sciences industry sector, Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed a $20 million cut in funding to the nine-year-old Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF), allowing the fund to honor existing commitments and proceed with the 2013-14 Proof of Concept grant program and Entrepreneur Mentoring grant program. The state’s budget director David Schumacher said the sheer volume of letters from biotech companies in support of saving the fund carried weight in the governor’s decision, reports The Olympian.

NY Budget Advances State’s Research, High-Tech Agenda

Many of the proposals put forth by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for growing New York’s innovation economy were fulfilled or received ongoing support in the enacted FY15 budget. This includes a final installment of $680 million to complete the Buffalo Billion initiative, new rounds of funding for the Regional Economic Development Councils, SUNY and CUNY challenge grants, and tax breaks for manufacturers. Lawmakers also approved funding for a new genomic medicine network and STEM scholarship program.

WA Legislature Dismantles Longstanding TBED Initiative, Reduces Funds for Research

Just three years ago, lawmakers in Washington put into place a research and commercialization initiative designed as a public-private model to build on the work of two longstanding agencies and better serve the state’s innovation community. The program, Innovate Washington, was eliminated in the legislature during the 2014 session with the passage of HB 2029 and its responsibilities transferred to the state’s Department of Commerce. Funding to support research grants under the Life Sciences Discovery Fund is reduced in the supplemental budget agreement passed by lawmakers.

FL Gov Proposes $80M for Cancer Research

Florida Gov. Rick Scott recently provided details on his $80 million plan to bolster cancer research and treatment in the state. Of that amount, $60 million would be aimed at building a statewide network of federally designated National Cancer Institute centers, while the remaining $20 million would support peer-reviewed research grants. Currently, Florida only has one National Cancer Institute center, the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. Gov. Scott’s effort would help centers in Orlando, Miami and possibly other parts of the state, upgrade their programs to pursue the designation.  Read the announcement…

$20M for STEM Action Center in UT Budget; More Oversight for USTAR

Increased scrutiny for public investments has grown in recent years amid tight budget conditions. Returns on innovation-focused efforts often take time, and as a result TBED groups are always looking to improve metrics and reporting to meet greater demand for transparency. In Utah, lawmakers recently passed a bill providing more oversight for the state’s signature innovation-capacity building program following a critical audit last year. At the same time, lawmakers continued to embrace the concept of the agency they established eight years prior, and appropriated level funds to continue USTAR’s efforts in research and commercialization. The legislature also passed a bill dedicating $20 million to the STEM Action Center created last session.  


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