CREC Project News and Updates

Ken Poole on the President’s FY2015 Commerce Budget

March 5, 2014

In November 2013, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pitzker highlighted four key areas of focus for agency, as part of the “Open for Business” strategic vision: Trade and investment, spurring innovation, data, and the environment.

With the release of the President’s FY2015 budget this week, agencies are lining up new projects and improvements to current initiatives. CREC’s Ken Poole highlights some of the more promising allocations in Commerce’s budget for regional economic and public data professionals.

— “Promoting Trade and Investment”:

The budget calls for $20 million to expand SelectUSA, which acts as a clearinghouse for federal-level programs and services related to business investment. CREC recently met with Commerce to discuss the SelectUSA initiative.

Another $4 million will help the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) improve the measurement and understanding of U.S. foreign direct investment in support of the SelectUSA initiative.

—“Spurring Innovation”:

The budget provides $141 million (a $13 million increase over the 2014 enacted level) for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), to expand technology and supply chain capabilities, in support of technology adoption by smaller manufacturers. CREC has done work with MEP since 2002.

The budget also outlines an additional $15 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech), a public-private partnership developing technologies to address major manufacturing challenges faced by American businesses.

Of the $210 million for the Economic Development Administration (EDA), $25 million would fund the Regional Innovation Strategies Program, promoting economic development projects that spur entrepreneurship and innovation at the regional level.

— “Fueling a Data-Driven Economy”:

The budget includes $753 million (an increase of $281 million over the 2014 enacted level ) for the U.S. Census Bureau to research and test innovative design methods necessary to achieve an efficient and effective 2020 Decennial Census. Funding for the 2010 Decennial Census was inadequate to properly test new methods in time.

An additional $5 million to the Census Bureau will increase access to critical business datasets, while $2 million will initiate “Big Data for Small Business,” a new data program, which would be managed by BEA.

There is a proposed National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, “consisting of regional hubs that will accelerate development and adoption of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies for making new, globally competitive products.” This could include up to 45 manufacturing innovation institutes nationally, with four institutes already launched and five institutes that the Administration has already committed to funding.

—Under both “Fueling a Data-Driven Economy” and the “Environment”:

There is $2 billion to fully fund the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) next generation of weather satellites. This includes funding to make data from those satellites more widely available for commercial purposes.