NVTC's Public Policy News Update

January 12, 2011


In This Issue

2011 Legislative Session Convenes in Richmond

NVTC Outlines 2011 Legislative Priorities

Northern Virginia Technology Council Endorses Gov. McDonnell's Transportation Funding Plan

Stay Connected with NVTC's Advocacy Team in Richmond


2011 Legislative Session Convenes in Richmond

Today marks the first day of the 2011 Legislative Session of the Virginia General Assembly. This year's 46-day "short" session is scheduled to conclude on Saturday, February 26.

This evening, Gov. Bob McDonnell will deliver his second 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://legis.state.va.us/.

More than 1,300 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 budget amendments submitted by Gov. McDonnell and making other adjustments to Virginia's current FY2011-2012 biennial budget.

The House of Delegates and Senate will offer live streaming video of the 2011 Legislative Session, broadcasting from each chamber every day of the session.


To track individual bills or issues throughout the legislative session visit the General Assembly's Legislative Information System.

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NVTC Outlines 2011 Legislative Priorities

Last week, NVTC Chairman Brad Antle, chairman & 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 2011 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 2011 budget and policy actions.

The letter urges policymakers to address Virginia's critical transportation funding needs and also to support the following seven priorities:

  • Enact a strong R&D tax credit to promote innovation and job creation across Virginia and to boost industry-sponsored research and collaboration with Virginia's universities. Thirty-eight states offer an R&D tax credit. Adoption of a state R&D tax credit will enhance Virginia's competitiveness as a preferred location for research.
  • Support the creation of the Virginia Research and Technology Innovation Program (VRTIP). VRTIP will provide $25 million 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.
  • Support the CIT GAP Fund as a public-private partnership to encourage entrepreneurs and innovative technology startup companies to locate and grow within the Commonwealth by investing in seed-stage firms and university spinoffs with a high potential for successful commercialization, rapid growth and downstream private equity financing. On average, every dollar invested by the CIT GAP Fund leverages $14 in private sector investment.
  • Boost funding for Virginia's institutions of higher education and ensure that they are given maximum flexibility to deal with the cumulative impact of budget cuts, including the ability to set tuition and fees.
  • Bolster state support for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education at all levels and support Gov. McDonnell's proposal to provide an additional $33 million to enhance higher education student enrollment, retention and graduation with a focus on increasing the number of students majoring in STEM. Northern Virginia priorities include:

    • Providing George Mason University with $3 million to fund faculty startup packages to strengthen STEM education and support increased enrollment demand.
    • Enhancing economic incentives and aggressively promoting options for obtaining a bachelor's degree in STEM and other disciplines by enrolling first in a community college and then completing study at a four-year institution.
    • Allocating planning money to George Mason University for their "Bull Run II" life sciences building at their Prince William Campus to add labs for life sciences instructional and research needs, to serve as a magnet for the biotech industry and to boost graduates in the life sciences fields.
    • Providing capital investment to advance STEM-related higher education facilities to expand capacity.
    • Encourage students to specialize in STEM disciplines in Virginia's community colleges by leveraging a public-private scholarship match program for students enrolled in coursework targeted toward high-demand fields. For every dollar raised privately, the state would provide a dollar-for-dollar match up to $5 million.
  • Ensure the multi-state Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement governing taxation of e-commerce-based transactions provides for a small seller exemption, a single entity for collection and audits and adequate reimbursement for businesses prior to supporting its implementation in Virginia. Also ensure that out-of-state businesses can continue to support Virginia technology businesses and jobs in the Commonwealth by advertising on Virginia-based websites without incurring new - and likely unconstitutional - sales tax collection burdens.
  • Promote greater use of telework in the private sector and within state government.
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Northern Virginia Technology Council Endorses Gov. McDonnell's Transportation Funding Plan

On Tuesday, January 11, the NVTC Board of Directors voted unanimously to endorse Gov. Bob McDonnell's December transportation funding plan, which would take advantage of current market conditions, including the low cost of capital and transportation construction, to make critical investments in transportation projects throughout the Commonwealth.

The Governor's plan would pump an additional $4 billion into transportation through a number of initiatives, including:

  • Creation of "Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank" (VTIB) to multiply transportation dollars.
  • Modification of Virginia Code to allow the Commonwealth to issue at least $1.1 billion in direct GARVEE (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles) bonds.
  • Allocation of nearly $1 billion in unused federal toll credits.
  • Acceleration of the sales of bonds from 2007 transportation legislation, providing Virginia the ability to issue up to $1.8 billion in bonds during remainder of the Administration.

"We applaud Governor McDonnell for his proposal, which will pump $4 billion into road, transit and rail projects in the Commonwealth over the next three years, accelerating congestion-relief efforts and boosting job-creation and economic development efforts statewide," said NVTC President & CEO Bobbie Kilberg. "Addressing Northern Virginia's transportation crisis in a significant and meaningful way is critical to the growth of Northern Virginia's technology economy and by extension to the long-term economic health of the state."

"As business leaders, we believe new capital investments in Virginia's transportation infrastructure are crucial and support the smart use of bonds to underwrite these investments," added NVTC Chair Brad Antle, president & CEO of Salient Federal Solutions. "Given the historically low cost of capital and transportation construction coupled with the Commonwealth's healthy balance sheet and top bond rating, Virginia is competitively positioned to maximize and leverage its buying power to provide for new transportation infrastructure."

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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 for 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 join the NVTC Public Policy Forum group on LinkedIn, where members 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 also are invited to participate in weekly legislative conference calls with the NVTC advocacy team. Beginning this Friday, January 14 and recurring each Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. through February 25, 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 e-mail 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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