January 4, 2013
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 2013 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, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Continuing economic uncertainty and federal spending cuts underscore the importance of continuing efforts to 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 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 and programs to leverage and enhance the skills of veterans returning to the Commonwealth. 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 2013 session:
  • Create jobs and investment by strengthening and diversifying Virginia's technology economy through a dual emphasis strategy that:
      • Enhances Virginia's ability to attract mature companies that are seeking to expand, relocate, move corporate headquarters and establish research operations, and
      • Supports 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.
    • Maintain current annual funding for Virginia's Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) at $4.2 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.
    • Maintain current annual funding for the CIT GAP Funds at $3.8 million to 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.
    • Maintain current annual funding for Virginia's R&D tax credit at $5 million to ensure 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 Virginia Angel Investment Tax Credit to align funding for the tax credit with demand for the credit to ensure current and future investors receive the value of the incentive they are expecting when they make early-stage investment in small technology startups and university spinouts located in the Commonwealth. Growth in investor applications is a positive indicator that the credit is succeeding in growing and diversifying Virginia's technology economy by encouraging entrepreneurs to locate in Virginia and by encouraging investors to invest in Virginia technology startups.
    • Provide additional state support for university research and commercialization efforts.
    • Leverage Virginia's federal, state and private sector assets 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 current budget funding to leverage Virginia's federal, state and private cybersecurity and modeling and simulation assets to expand the Commonwealth's efforts to target increased jobs and investment by these quickly growing industries.
      • Invest state funds to launch the nation's first cybersecurity accelerator to focus exclusively on cybersecurity company creation and produce 10 to 20 new companies per year to add to Virginia's cyber assets and capabilities. After a two-year start-up period, this initiative will be self-funded.
      • Direct $5 million from Virginia's FACT Fund to the CRCF to stimulate multi-university and industry cooperative cyber research projects focused on developing new cybersecurity solutions. By sponsoring this type of research project, the Commonwealth will enable scientific discovery for industry application and create a pipeline of graduates with advanced degrees in related fields.
      • Provide for a separate personal property tax classification for computer equipment used in data centers so localities may have the option to boost their competitiveness for data center jobs and investment.
  • 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.
  • Boost Virginia's technology workforce by awarding cumulative 100,000 additional undergraduate degrees by 2025 with emphasis throughout the education pipeline on high-income, high-demand sectors, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and analytics.

    • 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.
    • Develop and launch a targeted workforce initiative to provide training and jobs for veterans returning to Virginia after active duty.
    • Provide Virginia's institutions of higher education with maximum flexibility in managing their operations including the ability to set tuition and fees.
    • 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 Virginians over the next 15 years with an emphasis on STEM degrees.
  • Improve commute times and reduce traffic delays by addressing Virginia's transportation challenges, utilizing intelligent transportation solutions and promoting telework.
In closing, the Northern Virginia technology community urges you to consider a long-term strategic view of the Commonwealth's future. Despite the funding challenges we continue to face, we see tremendous opportunity for Virginia to further distinguish itself this year as the 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 Joe Vidulich or Myles Louria of Hunton Williams. Their contact information is attached.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of NVTC's 2013 legislative priorities. We look forward to working with you this session and we hope we can count on your support.

Sincerely,


Brad Antle
Chairman, NVTC Board of Directors
President and CEO, Salient Federal Solutions

Bobbie Kilberg
President and CEO
Northern Virginia Technology Council