January 11, 2012

In This Issue

2012 Legislative Session Convenes in Richmond

NVTC Outlines 2012 Legislative Priorities

Gov. Bob McDonnell Unveiled his Two-Year Budget

Stay Connected with NVTC's Advocacy Team in Richmond

2012 Legislative Session Convenes in Richmond

Today marks the first day of the 2012 Legislative Session of the Virginia General Assembly. This year's 60-day "long" session is scheduled to conclude on Saturday, March 10.

This evening, Gov. Bob McDonnell will deliver his third State of the Commonwealth Address to the Joint Houses of the General Assembly at 7 p.m. A webcast of the governor's address will be available at: http://governor.virginia.gov/Blog/view_blog.cfm?id=75.

More than 1,000 legislative bills have already been submitted for consideration in the General Assembly and many more will be introduced over the next two weeks. Legislators also will spend the coming weeks deliberating over the FY2013-2014 biennial budget submitted by Gov. McDonnell.

The House of Delegates and Senate will offer live streaming video of the 2012 Legislative Session, broadcasting from each chamber every day of the session.

House Video Stream

Senate Video Stream

NVTC has also compiled an expansive bill tracking index for select bills of interest to NVTC members. The region's technology community will be able to track legislation as it progresses through the Legislative Session, comment on bills, and watch debate on the House and Senate floors.

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NVTC Outlines 2012 Legislative Priorities

This week, NVTC Chairman Brad Antle, President and CEO of Salient Federal Solutions, and NVTC President & CEO Bobbie Kilberg sent letters to all members of the General Assembly and to the governor, lieutenant governor, Cabinet members and other senior officials of the McDonnell Administration outlining NVTC's 2012 legislative priorities. While the letter acknowledges that policymakers will be making many difficult decisions in adopting a budget and policies that meet Virginia's needs and address current revenue challenges, it also highlights the critical nature of further advancing the gains Virginia has made in building a globally branded technology business climate in 2012 budget and policy actions.

To see a copy of NVTC's 2012 Legislative Agenda, please click here.

The letter urges policymakers 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.

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Gov. Bob McDonnell Unveiled his Two-Year Budget

On December 19, Gov. Bob McDonnell unveiled his two-year budget for fiscal years 2013 and 2014, as well as his amendments to the concluding fiscal year 2012 budget, in a speech to the Joint Money Committees of the General Assembly.

Included in the governor's budget:

  • $100 million in funding for higher education. Elements include:

    • $25.5 million per year to provide additional support for public higher education institutions' base operating costs.

    • $20.4 million per year as incentive funding in support of public higher education institutions' efforts to graduate students, especially if those students are in STEM and health care related majors (STEM-H), graduate in less time than normal, and are considered an underrepresented group based on age and income.

    • $16.2 million per year to account for enrollment growth by public higher education institutions between academic year 2009-10 and academic year 2010-11, representing more than 8,200 additional students.

    • $12.4 million per year to support cancer and high-tech research at our higher education institutions, as well as funding for competitive research grant awards.

    • $8.2 million per year to support other STEM-H related initiatives at entities that support higher education.

    • $6.4 million per year to increase financial assistance to students.

    • $5.8 million per year to increase the Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) award to Virginia students attending private, nonprofit higher education institutions from the present $2,650 to $2,750.

    • $5.1 million per year to support institution-specific STEM-H, graduation and retention and economic development initiatives at public higher education institutions consistent with the goals in the Top Jobs legislation.

  • $50 million allocated to a new Federal Action Contingency Fund (FACT Fund), a cash reserve that can be used to mitigate a variety of negative impacts on Virginia related to likely future adverse federal budget actions. This Fund will be used to replace certain losses in direct federal grants; provide incentives to retain or consolidate federal facilities in Virginia, address federal tax policy changes from conformity; and help businesses impacted by cuts in federal procurement or defense contracts as they change to other customers.

  • $6 million per year to support the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) to accelerate entrance of new products and services to the market, incentivize collaboration between research universities and businesses in high-growth, emerging industries, provide matching funds to SBIR grant recipients and provide new resources to attract eminent researchers to Virginia universities.

  • $4 million per year to support the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) GAP Funds, which invest in seed-stage technology firms and university spin-outs with a high potential for successful commercialization, rapid growth and downstream private equity financing.

  • $5 million in funding for FY13 and $10 million in funding for FY14 to support and bolster the competitiveness of Virginia's refundable R&D income tax credit.

  • $40 million in new funding under the governor's "The Greatest Opportunity: Jobs and Economic Development Legislative Agenda" for continued aggressive economic development efforts to encourage and facilitate private sector job creation. Elements include:

    • $5 million per year to launch a new life sciences initiative.

    • $4 million to support launch site improvements for the Mid-Atlantic Spaceport at Wallops Island.

    • $1.2 million to support a CIT modeling and simulation initiative.

    • $1 million to support a CIT cybersecurity initiative.

    • A new small business investor tax credit for qualified investments made to qualified small businesses that are held for two years, beginning on or after January 1, 2013, but before January 1, 2015.

    • A two-year extension of Virginia's capital gains income tax exclusion for qualified investments in technology, energy and biotechnology startup businesses having a principal office or facility in the Commonwealth and less than $3 million in annual revenues in the fiscal year prior to the investment. The deduction originally related to investments made between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2013, and this proposal would extend the sunset date to June 30, 2015.

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Stay Connected with NVTC's Advocacy Team in Richmond

NVTC maintains a full-time presence in Richmond during the legislative session, and we welcome your feedback. Feel free to contact us at any time with questions, ideas or suggestions:

NVTC Vice President of Policy Josh Levi (jlevi@nvtc.org 703-268-5140)

NVTC Public Policy Manager Joe Vidulich (jvidulich@nvtc.org 703-268-5135)

NVTC members are encouraged to visit NVTC's 2012 General Assembly Session page for information about the ongoing legislative session in Richmond. There, members will be able to join the NVTC Public Policy Forum group on LinkedIn, where they can exchange ideas and provide feedback and direction to NVTC's advocacy team on critical policy issues affecting the Northern Virginia technology community.

NVTC's members will also be able to participate in weekly legislative conference calls with the NVTC advocacy team. Beginning Friday, January 20, and recurring each Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. through March 9, these calls offer a valuable opportunity to stay connected to what's going on in Richmond and provide advice and feedback to NVTC leaders and staff. Please send an email to Joe Vidulich (jvidulich@nvtc.org) if you would like to receive notice and call-in information for NVTC's weekly conference calls.

For more information about NVTC's advocacy efforts, please visit us online at http://www.nvtc.org/advocacy/ and follow us on Twitter @NVTCTechPolitic. You can also learn more about NVTC TechPAC, the Northern Virginia technology community's state-level PAC at: www.nvtctechpac.org.

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