states

Public funding alone not enough to expand rural broadband

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that nearly one-fourth of the rural population —14.5 million people — lack access to broadband services. In tribal areas, nearly one-third of the population lacks access. Even in areas where broadband is available, approximately 100 million Americans still do not subscribe to services.

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.

ITIF’s long-running State New Economy Index issues 2020 state ranks

Utah and Maryland have climbed the ranks and moved into third and fourth place behind two long-standing leaders in the Information Technology and Information Foundation’s (ITIF) State New Economy Index. The index measures states’ structural capacity for successfully navigating a global economy that is increasingly driven by technological innovation. ITIF’s recent release of the updated 2020 index and state rankings provides a long-term picture of how several states have been strengthening their economies for the future.

$5.5B for R&D in CA among critical state ballot initiatives

With the general election less than one month away, SSTI has reviewed the 120 state ballot initiatives throughout the country for innovation-related issues. Education, gig workers, redistricting and issues surrounding elections and state budgets are scattered across the country and can affect the future of innovation through funding, talent and political will. Read below for coverage on the initiatives that could have an impact on different segments of the economy and the future of innovation.

Policy positions of gubernatorial candidates in 11 states discussed

Eleven states are holding gubernatorial elections this year with nine incumbents seeking reelection, two of which are facing off against their lieutenant governor. Only one governor, Steve Bullock in Montana, is term-limited and unable to seek reelection. In Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert is stepping down from the position he has held for 10 years. While many of the races this year will reflect referendums on the current governor’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the candidates have announced their innovation and economic development initiatives.

NGA offers roadmap for state leaders to build a resilient workforce

After more than a year of research and facing greater disruption to the workforce than imagined at the outset, the National Governors Association (NGA) has released a guide for governors and state policymakers to help build a technologically resilient workforce. Written before the COVID-19 outbreak, the authors of the report attest that trends previously identified will only accelerate, and thus there is even greater urgency for policy transformations that should be implemented as part of a system wide, resilient education and workforce development agenda.

Recent Research: North Carolina’s SBIR/STTR matching program yields results

Since 2005, the One North Carolina Small Business Program has made 423 SBIR/STTR matching awards worth nearly $26 million to more than 250 businesses throughout the state. A new assessment, which updates an earlier report, provides academic rigor to a standard program review. The results indicate that even beyond survey-based attestations to the program’s value, there is a statistically-significant impact of North Carolina’s funding for the competitiveness of recipients.

State budget recovery likely years away, SSTI analysis shows

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) indicates that the U.S. economy through 2030 will have $8 trillion (as measured in 2019 dollars) less in economic activity than the CBO projected just five months ago.  Combined with SSTI’s recent examination of economic recovery that found it took 20 states at least four years for their economy to recover back to Great Recession levels, the impact on state budgets can be expected to be long lasting. In fact, a new examination by SSTI finds that through FY 2018, 15 states’ general revenue funds had not recovered to FY 2008 levels (as measured in 2018 dollars) based on data collected by the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). For an additional 16 states, it took seven to 10 years to reach FY 2008 levels.

Pew: How states pay for natural disasters in an era of rising costs

A new Pew study sheds light on how states utilize budgeting tools in response to natural disasters. The study identifies five key tools used by states — statewide disaster accounts, rainy day funds, supplemental appropriations, transfer authority, and state agency budgets — and discusses eligibility and restrictions around each.

States dealt blow with pandemic

In general, the effect of the pandemic on states’ budgets due to the wave of business, retail, and commerce shutdowns, as well as other reduced economic activity across the nation, is not entirely known, or too early to forecast; however, a number of states are beginning to experience the initial impacts of a substantial downturn. With several states having already enacted their 2020-21 budgets, special sessions are expected later this year to deal with declining revenues. Others ended sessions early without a new fiscal year spending plan in place.

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