January 9, 2012
Dear Delegate:


On behalf of the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) and our approximately 1,000 member companies, we would like to extend our warm wishes for a productive and successful legislative session.

In 2009, NVTC adopted NVTC's Four Year Vision for Virginia's Technology Future. This Four Year Vision is our technology community's long-term blueprint for policies and investments that will ensure that Virginia remains a top state for business and a global technology center, which is central to our state's continuing economic recovery, growth and stability. Virginia has since made great gains in the areas of technology and innovation, research investment, competitive economic development incentives, entrepreneurship, job creation and new company formation, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

As you and your colleagues convene for the 2012 Legislative Session, we urge you to adopt a budget and to enact policies that further advance the gains Virginia has made in building a globally branded technology business climate.

In particular, federal spending cuts underscore the importance of continuing efforts to diversify Virginia's technology economy through research, innovation and new company formation to ensure our long-term economic vitality and competitiveness. Moreover, shifting federal priorities provide Virginia with great opportunity to leverage its strengths and assets in cybersecurity, data centers, cloud-focused industries, and other growth sectors to attract new jobs and investment.

We also ask you to support the current and future workforce needs of our technology community through continued investments in STEM education and programs to leverage and enhance the skills of veterans returning to the Commonwealth. Finally, we urge you to enhance Virginia's critical infrastructure, which is vital to the growth and competitiveness of technology businesses.

Specifically, during the 2012 Legislative Session, we urge you to support the following objectives and priorities:

Strengthen Virginia's competitiveness as a preferred location for job creation, research investment, commercialization and advanced technology business startups.

  • Maintain $10 million in annual funding for Virginia's Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) to accelerate entrance of new products and services to the market, incentivize collaboration between institutions of higher education and companies engaged in research in high-growth, emerging industries and provide new resources to attract and retain eminent researchers at Virginia universities.
  • Boost funding for Virginia's R&D tax credit from $5 million to $10 million per year to make Virginia more competitive in promoting innovation and job creation across the Commonwealth and to boost industry-sponsored research and collaboration with Virginia universities.
  • Provide additional state support for university research and commercialization efforts.

Leverage Virginia's federal, state and private sector assets to position and market Virginia as the go-to location for cybersecurity, cloud-focused businesses and other sectors where Virginia has a competitive advantage.

  • Enhance Virginia's statewide competitiveness in attracting major data center jobs and investment by clarifying that the sales tax exemption for data center equipment purchases also applies to the tenants of a data center that collectively meet the thresholds of the current law.
  • Provide funding and leverage Virginia's federal, state and private cybersecurity and modeling and simulation assets to expand the Commonwealth's marketing efforts to target increased jobs and investment by these quickly growing industries.
  • Maintain a regulatory and tax climate friendly to both the creation of new businesses in Virginia and the relocation of existing business to Virginia.
  • Invest strategically and implement organizational improvements to the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority to enhance the competitiveness of Virginia's commercial space flight industry and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at Wallops Island.

Grow Virginia's technology workforce by transitioning veterans to private sector technology jobs and bolstering state support for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education at all levels.

  • Develop and launch a targeted workforce initiative to provide training and jobs for veterans returning to Virginia after active duty.
  • Provide Virginia's institutions of higher education with maximum flexibility in managing their operations including the ability to set tuition and fees.
  • Implement incentive driven funding to advance the next stage of Virginia's Top Jobs initiative to provide for an additional 100,000 undergraduate degrees for Virginians over the next 15 years with an emphasis on STEM degrees.

Support economic growth and improve the quality of life for the technology workforce by enhancing Virginia's critical infrastructure and promoting intelligent transportation solutions and telework.

In closing, the Northern Virginia technology community urges you to consider a long-term strategic view of the Commonwealth's future. Despite the funding challenges we continue to face, we see tremendous opportunity for Virginia to further distinguish itself this year as the top state for business and a global technology center.

NVTC maintains a full-time presence in Richmond during the General Assembly session. If there is anything we can do to help you this session or any feedback we can provide, please feel free to contact NVTC Vice President of Policy Josh Levi, NVTC Public Policy Manager Joe Vidulich or Myles Louria of Hunton Williams. Their contact information is attached.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of NVTC's 2012 legislative priorities. We look forward to working with you this session and we hope we can count on your support.

Sincerely,


Brad Antle
Chairman, NVTC Board of Directors
President and CEO, Salient Federal Solutions

Bobbie Kilberg
President and CEO
Northern Virginia Technology Council