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NVTC Outlines 2014 Legislative Priorities

On Monday, Jan. 6, NVTC Chairman Sudhakar Kesavan, chairman and CEO of ICF International, and NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg sent letters to all members of the Virginia General Assembly and to the governor-elect, lieutenant governor-elect, attorney general-elect and senior officials of the McAuliffe administration outlining NVTC's 2014 legislative priorities. While the letter acknowledges that policymakers will be making many difficult decisions in adopting budget amendments 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 2014 budget and policy actions.

To review a copy of NVTC's 2014 Legislative Agenda letter, please click here.

The letter urges policymakers to support the following objectives and priorities:

Competitiveness and Economic Growth

  • Enhance Virginia's ability to attract companies that are seeking to expand, relocate, move corporate headquarters, or establish research operations.
  • Support a comprehensive "Grow Your Own" strategy for new company formation to position Virginia as a leader in next generation technology company formation and innovation, as well as a top destination for entrepreneurs, early-stage investors, researchers and innovators.
  • Ensure Virginia maintains its status as a top state for business by minimizing taxes and regulation, preserving right to work and avoiding negative signals that drive private enterprise away from the Commonwealth.
  • Invest in targeted innovation funding initiatives to boost Virginia's competitiveness in promoting research, entrepreneurship, innovation, emerging technologies and technology-based economic growth, and job creation.

    • Increase the funding cap for Virginia's R&D tax credit which enhances Virginia's competitiveness in promoting innovation and job creation across the Commonwealth and to boost industry-sponsored research and collaboration with Virginia universities.
    • Increase funding for the CIT GAP Funds which provide seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology, clean tech and life science companies with a high potential for achieving rapid growth and generating significant economic return for entrepreneurs, co-investors and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
    • Increase funding for Virginia's cybersecurity and cyber data analytics, modeling & simulation and other initiatives that leverage Virginia's federal, state and private sector assets to continue to position and promote Virginia as the go-to location for cybersecurity, Big Data, cloud-focused businesses and other sectors where Virginia has a competitive advantage.
    • Maintain funding for Virginia's Angel Investment Tax Credit which helps grow and diversifying Virginia's technology economy by encouraging entrepreneurs to locate in Virginia and by encouraging investors to invest in Virginia technology startups.
    • Maintain funding for Virginia's Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) which accelerates 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.

    Strengthen Virginia's ability to assist businesses by:

    • Further improving and integrating Virginia's Business One Stop which provides a single location for entrepreneurs to find and complete the needed forms to open their business, streamlining the process and paperwork entrepreneurs must undergo in seeking government permits to start a business.
    • Authorizing an entrepreneur-in-residence program to place successful entrepreneurs in government agencies for limited periods of time to help identify and resolve barriers to new company formation, job creation and the bringing of new products to market.
    • Protecting Virginia businesses from patent trolls who employ bad faith assertions of patent infringement.

    STEM Education and Workforce
    Boost Virginia's technology workforce through a robust science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education pipeline, by increasing the number of STEM certifications and degrees awarded statewide, and by advancing policies that ensure Virginia businesses and universities can hire the best and brightest and all Virginians can participate in the growing technology economy.

    • Continue to 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.
    • Grow Virginia's STEM workforce by increasing STEM focus in K-12, providing incentives and additional compensation to help attract and retain quality STEM teachers, and implementing additional STEM programs for Virginia students.
    • Promote state legislation to extend basic job protections by prohibiting employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation. Such legislation, in addition to fostering fair treatment in the workplace, would benefit technology employers by promoting employment and retention of a critical talent pool and also would benefit higher education institutions in their recruitment and retention of faculty and researchers who train the workforce and help drive our innovation economy.
    • Continue support for Virginia Values Veterans and other targeted workforce initiatives to provide training and job opportunities for veterans returning to Virginia after active duty.
Infrastructure
  • Improve infrastructure, including transportation, energy and broadband, to support economic development and help Virginia companies compete