Mitt Romney, candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, addressed a sold-out crowd of more than 900 technology business leaders on Friday, February 10 at the Hyatt Regency Reston as part of the NVTC/CEA Presidential Series. Romney was introduced by Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the event’s co-host and platinum sponsor. In his speech, Romney discussed “the innovative spirit of America” and his plan to grow the economy.
|Gov. Mitt Romney addressing more than 900 attendees on February 10.|
Romney, who founded Bain Capital, expressed his belief that incentives have a huge impact on innovation. He argued that, if the U.S. wants to remain the most powerful country in the world, it must remain innovative – “innovation and creativity allows America to lead the world.”
Addressing the U.S. economy, Romney shared steps he would take to improve our economic outlook. First, Romney stated that we must have a tax structure that encourages and incentivizes people to take risk. “We have to encourage innovation as opposed to killing initiatives because of risk,” Romney declared. He also asserted that regulation must be put in place to encourage risk-taking, rather than attempt to limit risk. “Regulators should be encouraging regulation that makes business work.”
|Gov. Romney discussed innovation and his plan to grow the U.S. economy.|
In addition to changes in tax structure and regulation, Romney discussed the need to open up markets for U.S. innovators to sell their products overseas and to develop the country’s energy resources including solar, wind and nuclear. He stressed that government should refrain from picking winners through huge financial support, because doing so will discourage other investors from backing competitors, thereby stifling innovation. Instead, government must invest in research and technologies that support developments in space, military, and science and health, according to Romney.
Finally, Romney called for reinforcing our country’s human capital by strengthening K-12 schools and investing in higher education, stating that we need globally competitive schools to increase innovation.
After his remarks, Romney took questions from the technology community audience, addressing immigration, highly skilled labor, taxes and the rising cost of health care as part of U.S. GDP. He argued that our immigration strategy must include “welcoming the best and brightest,” including stapling a green card to all foreign-born Ph.D.s. He also outlined his two-part tax plan, which includes immediately reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent and ultimately offering middle-income Americans tax-free capital gains on interest and dividends.
|(L-R) Gov. Romney, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg discussing Northern Virginia’s technology community during the event.|
Prior to Gov. Romney’s speech, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell addressed the audience, outlining the business-friendly policies that have helped the Commonwealth remain competitive and have contributed to Virginia’s top rankings, including being named the “Top State for Business” by CNBC. In his remarks, McDonnell recognized NVTC for its support of legislative initiatives supporting economic development, job creation, innovation and entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth, including the capital gains tax exemption, angel investor tax credit, R&D tax credit, Business One Stop portal, and funding for the CIT GAP Funds and the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF).
NVTC and CEA have extended invitations to President Barack Obama, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum to address the region's technology community as part of the Presidential Series. Stay tuned for future series events as dates are confirmed.
Click here for media coverage of the February 10 event.