America’s Technology Leaders Assert Innovation Key to Nation’s Recovery and Global Competitiveness

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Washington, DC – Nearly 60 executives from TechNet, the bipartisan policy and political network of CEOs that promotes the growth of the innovation economy, assemble in Washington, D.C. this week for the organization’s annual CEO fly-in to meet with America’s policy leaders and advocate for innovative policy solutions to create jobs and grow the U.S. economy.

The TechNet executives are meeting with senior Obama Administration officials and an array of bipartisan Congressional leaders to advocate for a robust innovation policy agenda comprised of three critical areas: improving the nation’s education system and human capital support; fostering a globally competitive business climate including comprehensive tax reform; and driving investment for clean technology and 21st century energy solutions.

“To win the future, America must invest in innovation and the future discoveries that will create good paying jobs for more of our people,” said Rey Ramsey, President and CEO of TechNet.  “To reach this goal, we must make the smart policy choices on R&D, education, comprehensive tax reform, high skilled immigration and protecting intellectual property.  These are fundamental kitchen table issues that will help grow jobs here in America. Our message to our policy leaders is that we will work with you to ensure that America remains the world’s center of innovation and economic growth.”

TechNet 2011 Federal Public Policy Priorities

TechNet is committed to advancing U.S. competitiveness, economic growth and job creation. Public policies and private sector initiatives that spur our nation’s innovation-driven economy are essential to the nation’s economic recovery. By focusing our activities a few key issues, TechNet maximizes its impact on those public policy issues most affecting the national economy.

Fostering a Globally Competitive Business Environment. Fifty years ago, 64% of the world’s 250 largest industrial companies were headquartered in the United States. Today only 34% of the world’s 500 largest companies are based here. While America’s economic leadership is at risk, our citizens possess the talent, intellect and entrepreneurial spirit to maintain our economic and national security. To preserve America’s economic leadership TechNet promotes public policy to create a national environment ripe for the kind of innovation and risk taking that drive economic growth and job creation. This year, TechNet’s will focus its work on:

  • Tax Policy. America’s outdated corporate tax code has put U.S. employers at a competitive disadvantage in today’s global economy. Currently, more than $1 trillion in American businesses’ earnings are trapped overseas. We should move now to allow these businesses the freedom to bring this money home and invest it back into our still fragile economy. The basic operating rules of our international tax system were put in place some 50 years ago and the last significant overhaul of our tax system in 1986, 25 years ago. The world has changed dramatically since that time. In fact, many TechNet companies did not exist 25 years ago. The time has come to modernize America’s corporate tax system to keep the U.S. competitive in the new global economy.
  • Trade. More than 60 percent of the technology industry’s sales are overseas; as the world becomes ever more connected, that number will continue to grow. TechNet supports greater market access through the adoption of foreign trade agreements still pending before Congress and working with the U.S. government to identify new market opportunities and protect companies from unfair trade practices.
  • Broadband and Internet Policy. TechNet supports policies that drive the growth and vitality of a safe, secure and free Internet as well as the next generation of communications. TechNet believes the FCC’s national broadband plan can represent the “North Star” for future American leadership in innovation and supports the implementation of that plan.
  • Basic Research. TechNet supports strong national investments in research and development through increased federal funding for basic research and a permanent R&D tax credit.

Clean Technology: Spurring the Next Great Global Industry. With four billion users worldwide, the $6 trillion energy market is the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century. Clean energy can create millions of jobs and address the challenges of national, economic and environmental security our nation faces today. But right now, the U.S. lags behind other nations in the race to become the leader in the next great global industry. While America continues to spend $1 billion on foreign fuel each day, China is investing 10 times more in clean power, as a percentage of the gross domestic product, than the United States. For the U.S. to become the global leader in this emerging industry, the federal government and private sector must work together to ensure promising clean energy technologies can reach the commercial market. When it comes to clean energy technologies, TechNet supports:

  • Smart federal investments. The energy industry is capital intensive – with the most significant costs in the early stages of development. Federal support of clean energy research, development and deployment programs like ARPA-E and CEDA that help drive innovation in this capital intensive industry.
  • Tax incentives. The direct costs of early adoption can initially run higher than existing energy solutions. Tax incentives and payment in lieu of tax programs have proven invaluable in helping to promote adoption. TechNet supports vital tax incentives programs such as the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (48c) and the Section 1603 Renewable Energy Grant Program as essential for the industry to achieve scale and drive down costs.
  • Smart grid. TechNet is committed to modernizing the nation’s electrical infrastructure and turning this aging network into a truly integrated, smart grid equipped with the technologies, capacity and reach to meet the nation’s energy demands for the next generation. TechNet supports greater empowerment of consumers to allow them more control of their individual energy consumption and federal investments and regulations to help accelerate the transition to a modern grid.

Building a 21st Century Workforce. America’s economic leadership is a reflection of our historic national commitment to a quality education for everyone. But other countries are surpassing the U.S. in preparing their children for the jobs of tomorrow. Today, the U.S. is 29th out of 109 countries in the percentage of 24-year-olds with a math or science degree. Innovation and economic growth require a world-class workforce. TechNet support policies that ensure our nation has the knowledge workers who will drive economic growth today and into the future.

  • Education. The public and private sectors must work together to develop initiatives to improve science and math education; increase the number of Americans attaining degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and increase the opportunities to bring new, relevant technologies into the classroom.
  • High-Skilled Immigration. TechNet supports a complete overhaul of the nation’s highly skilled immigration system to better reflect the realities of today’s global economy. By increasing the number of H-1B visas available to foreign-born workers, speeding up the employment-based green card application process and ensuring that foreign-born students who graduate with advanced degrees from U.S. colleges and universities are able to stay in the country instead of sending home to U.S. competitors.

About TechNet:

TechNet is the national, bipartisan network of CEOs that promotes the growth of technology industries and the economy by building long-term relationships between technology leaders and policymakers and by advocating a targeted policy agenda. TechNet’s members represent more than one million employees in the fields of information technology, biotechnology, e-commerce and finance. TechNet has offices in Washington, DC, Palo Alto, Sacramento, Seattle, Boston and Austin. Web address: www.technet.org. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @technetupdate.

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Contact: Jim Hock, (202) 463-0013 x202 moc.364null@kcoh.mij