January 12, 2010
On behalf of the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) and our 1,000 member companies, we would like to extend our warm wishes for a productive and successful legislative session.
Enclosed please find a copy of NVTC's Four Year Vision for Virginia's Technology Future. It is our technology community's long term blueprint for policies and investments that will ensure that Virginia remains the top state for business and a global technology center, as this is central to our state's economic recovery, growth and stability. This document calls for focus in three critically-important issues - the economy, education and research, and transportation - all of which we believe are central to enhancing Virginia's technology industry and the Commonwealth's international competitiveness.
As you and your colleagues convene for the 2010 Legislative Session, you will be making many difficult decisions in adopting a budget that meets Virginia's needs while addressing our current revenue challenges. It is critical that 2010 budget actions preserve the gains Virginia has made in building a globally-branded technology business climate. Virginia's technology future demands that long-term investment not be sacrificed to achieve short-term savings. Virginia's policies and budget priorities must support technology and innovation, entrepreneurship, job creation and new company formation, public-private partnerships, education, research and transportation.
Specifically, we urge you to support the following eleven priorities during this 2010 Legislative Session:
In closing, the Northern Virginia technology community urges you to consider a long-term strategic view of Virginia's future. Despite the challenges we are facing, now is not the time to shut the door on business in Virginia. It is the time for policies that continue to earn the Commonwealth accolades as the best place for business, the state with the highest concentration of tech workers, the state with the largest number of fast-growing firms, and the second-best state in the nation for entrepreneurs starting businesses.
- Increase accountability and authority between the CIO and the Executive Branch by requiring the Governor to appoint Virginia's Chief Information Officer (CIO), and by requiring the CIO to report to the Governor through the Secretary of Technology.
- Encourage and stimulate high-potential startup companies by providing a three-year 100% state capital gains tax exclusion for founders of qualified Virginia startups as well as the investors (individual or institutional) who invest in qualified companies.
- Continue to leverage a small public investment in the CIT GAP Fund to generate seed capital for startups. By attracting private sector investment, the CIT GAP Fund raises $11 for every $1 invested by the Commonwealth. Virginia should reprogram $2M of existing economic development funds to the GAP Fund to target highly desirable startups in energy and green technologies. This proposed investment should create at least 20 new high growth, high wage companies.
- Preserve funding for Virginia's institutions of higher education and ensure that they are given maximum flexibility to deal with budget cuts, including the ability to set tuition and fees.
- Increase the size of the Governor's Opportunity Fund and use additional funds to target research-intensive companies. In addition to the high paying jobs these companies create, recent economic development successes in Virginia have demonstrated that strong collaborative partnerships between R&D intensive enterprises and Virginia's research universities have the potential for more commercialization and spinouts.
- Accelerate Virginia's one-stop business permitting portal as a marketing tool in establishing Virginia as the number one place to start a business, as well as a practical tool for entrepreneurs building their businesses.
- Enact a transportation funding plan to provide a new, sustainable and dedicated annual revenue stream to address our transportation and mass transit funding needs.
- Adopt a new anti-spam statute that passes constitutional muster.
- Leverage private sector experience and expertise, boost efficiencies and recognize cost savings by harnessing the power of public-private partnerships as a mechanism to address core priorities including health care, transportation, education, broadband, and technology.
- Preserve trust between the state and Northern Virginians by ensuring the re-benchmarking activities related to Virginia's composite index proceed without delay and that the state funds local K-12 education in a fair, predictable and equitable manner.
- Provide funding to ensure the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island becomes the top commercial space flight facility in the country.
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 there is any feedback we can provide, please feel free to contact NVTC Vice President for Policy Josh Levi, NVTC Public Policy Manager Allison Glatfelter, NVTC Special Projects Manager David Baker and/or our retained lobbyist Myles Louria of Hunton Williams. Their business cards are enclosed for your convenience.
We are excited to have the opportunity to work with you this session and we hope we can count on your support.
NVTC Board Chair
President, U.S., Europe & Asia, CGI
President & CEO
PS: We thought you might be interested in reading a copy of the NVTC Special Section insert that appeared in the August 24, 2009 issue of Forbes magazine on Northern Virginia titled "Northern Virginia: Innovating Technology's Future" which reached more than 5.4 million readers worldwide. We have included it along with this letter.