January 6, 2014
Dear Delegate:

On behalf of the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) and our approximately 1,000 member companies, we would like to extend our warm wishes for a productive and successful legislative session.

During the 2014 session, we urge you to support policies and investments that will ensure that Virginia remains a top state for business and a global technology center, which is central to our state's continuing economic recovery, growth and stability. In recent years, Virginia has made great gains in the areas of technology and innovation, research investment, competitive economic development incentives, entrepreneurship, job creation and new company formation, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, and transportation investment and infrastructure.

Ongoing economic uncertainty and federal spending cuts underscore the importance of continuing efforts to grow and diversify Virginia's technology economy through research, innovation and new company formation to ensure our long-term economic vitality and competitiveness. Moreover, shifting federal priorities provide Virginia with great opportunity to leverage its strengths and assets in cybersecurity, data centers, cloud-focused industries, big data analytics and other growth sectors to attract new jobs and investment.
We also ask you to support the current and future workforce needs of our technology community through continued investments in STEM education. State programs to train veterans returning to the Commonwealth and facilitate their employment are important complements to private sector efforts including NVTC's Veterans Employment Initiative. Finally, we urge you to enhance Virginia's critical infrastructure, which is vital to the growth and competitiveness of technology businesses.

Specifically, we urge you to support the following objectives and priorities during the 2014 session:

  • 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
      • 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.
In closing, the Northern Virginia technology community urges you to consider a long-term strategic view of the Commonwealth's future. We see tremendous opportunity for Virginia to further distinguish itself this year as a top state for business and a global technology center.

NVTC maintains a full-time presence in Richmond during the General Assembly session. If there is anything we can do to help you this session or any feedback we can provide, please feel free to contact NVTC Vice President of Policy Josh Levi, NVTC Public Policy Manager Troy Murphy or Myles Louria of Hunton Williams. Their contact information is attached.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of NVTC's 2014 legislative priorities. We look forward to working with you this session and we hope we can count on your support. Sincerely,

Sudhakar Kesavan
Chairman, NVTC Board Chair
Chairman and CEO, ICF International

Bobbie Kilberg
President and CEO
Northern Virginia Technology Council