The Newsletter of TechPAC and NVTC

October 15, 2008

In This Issue
Governor Kaine Returns to NVTC
On the Chopping Block
The Ball's in Virginia's Court
TechPolitic Poll

Governor Kaine Returns to NVTC
Now a National Celebrity, Tim Kaine Touts his Energy Ideas

The weather was strikingly warm yesterday, matching the radiant presence of Governor Tim Kaine at the Consumer Electronics Association offices in Arlington. Kaine was with members of his cabinet and senior staff for the Governor's Community Cabinet Day in Northern Virginia. This was his first time speaking to NVTC since he became an overnight national celebrity in July and August as a member of Barack Obama's short list for Vice President.

CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro greets Governor Kaine.

Kaine wasn't chosen, of course, but the experience seems to have emboldened him. Virginia is now on the national stage in a way that it hasn't been in quite some time, and Kaine used that confidence to tout his energy plan to NVTC Board members at a luncheon.

Governor Kaine chats with Gary Pan, President and CEO
of Panacea Consulting, and Art Swift,
NVTC Communications Director.

"Energy wasn't on the radar screen during my run for Governor (in 2005)," Governor Kaine said. "Now at every single public event people ask about energy."

Kaine commended CEA President and NVTC Board member Gary Shapiro for introducing a plan that would provide a $25,000 forgivable three-year loan to any CEA employee who reduces their commute by purchasing a home closer to CEA's headquarters. Kaine noted that this would have an impact on energy consumption. He also said he hopes the next President will implement an energy independence plan.

As the program began, NVTC Board Chair Donna Morea welcomed the Governor and discussed current NVTC activities. Shapiro provided further details about CEA's telework plans, including the announcement that effective immediately all CEA employees will be able to telework one day a week. Lydia Thomas from Noblis and Tony Maull from Ernst and Young briefed attendees on the progress of NVTC's Green Technology and Energy Task Force, which they co-chair.

Governor Kaine and Donna Morea, President of CGI and
NVTC Board Chair, listen to the presentation.

The last speaker before Governor Kaine was Aneesh Chopra, the Commonwealth's Secretary of Technology, and one of Kaine's cabinet members who toured Northern Virginia with the Governor yesterday. Chopra noted that in the beginning of 2008 Virginia's technology sector grew 2.7 percent, accounting for 67 percent of jobs created statewide.

Kaine stressed in his remarks that Virginia's technology industry remains strong, as compared to other industries in the state. He said he will partner with tech companies to ensure that continued success.

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On the Chopping Block
Governor Slashes Budget; Cuts Affect Technology and Education

Governor Kaine announced last Thursday a deep and comprehensive string of cuts that affect most aspects of Virginia' economy, including the areas of technology and higher education.

More than $279 million worth of government agency cuts will take effect immediately for Fiscal Year 2009, the Governor said, and more cuts are expected in Fiscal Year 2010. Kaine pronounced a $2.5 billion shortfall over the biennial period of 2009-10. Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology will lose $551,000 of its budget, including reductions in support services for technology research funds.

The Governor's directive also affects Virginia's public universities. The cuts for higher education institutions range between 5 and 7 percent of their operating budget. George Mason University is one such university affected by the cuts; GMU loses 7 percent of its funding, or $9.7 million.

"This is bad, very bad," said Josh Levi, Vice President of Policy at NVTC. "Budget cuts of this magnitude hurt, and investments with substantial but long-term yields are often the first things cut — things like research funding, economic development initiatives, higher education, upgrades to the state's technology and procurement infrastructure, even laptops to support telework programs in state agencies. And of course transportation funding continues to dry up too. We are looking at a very challenging General Assembly session this coming year as the Governor and Legislature attempt to address Virginia's revenue shortfalls."

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The Ball's in Virginia's Court
Congress funds Metro, but will the Commonwealth ante up?

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill this month authorizing $1.5 billion in funding for Metro over the next ten years. The plan, which was championed by Congressman Tom Davis of Virginia (R-11th District), allocates money for the maintenance and preservation of the aging public transportation system. The House of Representatives has already passed this legislation.

Most of the money would be used to buy rail cars and buses, and repair leaky tunnels and deteriorating station platforms.

"This could not come at a better time," said Congressman Davis, in a statement. "Train cars and buses must be replaced. Platforms are crumbling ... We need to stabilize the future of Metro, and this goes a long way toward addressing its long-term needs."

But the plan is contingent upon Virginia matching federal funds. So far, the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia each have dedicated the $50 million a year for 10 years the federal government requires, but the Commonwealth of Virginia has not committed yet. Governor Kaine has said Virginia will provide the matching funds, even if he has to shift money from other transportation projects.

Reaction in Northern Virginia was positive to the developments on Capitol Hill.

"NVTC has always been a strong advocate for Metro and its viability in Northern Virginia," said Bobbie Kilberg, President and CEO of NVTC. "Indeed, it is a lifeline for many of our residents and it is imperative that the state of Virginia follows the lead of the federal government in matching these funds. I commend Representative Davis for his sustained leadership on Capitol Hill for all Northern Virginians. We now have to make sure that his vision is completed and that we tackle the multitude of other transportation problems our region faces."

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TechPolitic POLL

The media has been referring to Attorney General Bob McDonnell as the presumptive Republican nominee for Governor of Virginia. Who do you think will be the Democratic gubernatorial nominee?
  • Brian Moran
  • Terry McAuliffe
  • Creigh Deeds
  • Marion Barry

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What do you like about being a TechPAC Trustee?

"The attraction of TechPAC to me is the opportunity to improve the business climate for small companies. We get involved in all sorts of issues, but my experience is in small companies and I have a good understanding of the challenges they face. So the issues that really interest me are the ones where I can either head off an obstacle to small businesses, like multi-state Internet sales tax collection burdens, or improve the climate for small businesses, like Delegate Moran's one-stop new business registration initiative."
-Duffy Mazan, Performedia, LLC

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