These are 2023’s most and least innovative states. How did Pa. do? | Monday Morning Coffee

Gov. Josh Shapiro wants to make Pa. more competitive. Here’s how far he has to go to close the gap

By: - March 27, 2023 7:15 am

Gov. Josh Shapiro speaks at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. (Commonwealth Media Services)

In his first official act after taking office, Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro waived the four-year degree requirement for most state jobs. He followed that up by announcing the creation of a new state office intended to speed the plow for businesses across the commonwealth.

“If you want to grow your business or invest in Pennsylvania, you’re not going to need to go to five different agencies anymore,” Shapiro said during a January press conference unveiling the Office of Transformation and Opportunity. “To get all your permits, your approvals, or your funding, the [office] and Ben Kirshner, who will lead it, will be your point-person in that endeavor”

And during his first budget address earlier this month, Shapiro pleased Republicans when he said he wanted to keep reducing Pennsylvania’s corporate net income tax.

If a new report by the financial literacy site WalletHub is any indication, those moves couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. Last week, analysts released their list of the most — and least — innovative states of 2023.

To reach their conclusions, WalletHub’s analysts weighed all 50 states and Washington D.C., looking at their “share of STEM professionals to R&D spending per capita to [their] tech-company density.”

Below, a look at the Top 5 most and least innovative states — and where Pennsylvania finished in the national firmament.

Source: WalletHub

The Top 5 Most Innovative States:

1. Washington D.C

2. Massachusetts

3. Washington State

4. Maryland

5. California 


The Top 5 Least Innovative States:

1. Mississippi

2. Louisiana

3. North Dakota

4. West Virginia

5. Arkansas

Pennsylvania finished 26th among the 50 states and Washington D.C., smack dab in the middle of WalletHub’s ranking list, putting the state ahead of West Virginia, New York (No. 27) and Ohio (No. 28), but behind Delaware (No. 8), Maryland, and New Jersey (No. 10), according to WalletHub.

(Getty Images)

Speaking to WalletHubBruce Bachenheimer, a clinical professor of management at Pace University, offered his prescription on how states can foster innovation.

“First, policymakers must realize that encouraging and facilitating innovation is quite a long-term prospect, one that will extend well beyond regular election cycles,” Bachenheimer said. “It requires a deep understanding of what would actually make the state attractive, an honest assessment of the state’s shortcomings, and a real commitment to meaningful action.”

And when former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg realized that the city would “need to significantly strengthen its resources in the applied sciences to encourage substantial development in its innovation economy, he undertook a major program to create a new tech campus on Roosevelt Island by attracting Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. A project that would take nearly a decade to reach fruition,” he said.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.