Nebraska Lawmakers Support Gov's Innovation Agenda

May 18, 2011

Gov. Dave Heineman's proposal to support innovation, research and product development in Nebraska's small businesses and institutions of higher education was passed with unanimous support in the legislature. Lawmakers also approved an angel tax credit for investments in high-tech companies and a measure to create an internship program matching college students with businesses as part of the governor's Talent and Innovation Agenda (see the Jan. 19, 2011 issue of the Digest).

The Business Innovation Act (LB 387) includes $7 million each year for grants to small businesses for the following activities:

  • Phase 0, 1, and II SBIR grants capped at $1 million per year;
  • Prototyping Fund capped at $50,000 per project or $1 million per year;
  • Commercialization and support, capped at $2 million per year;
  • Industry-university applied research grants, capped at $3 million per year; and,
  • A small business investment program providing microloan delivery grants capped at $1 million per year.

 

Of the $7 million appropriation, $5.6 million comes from new funds and the remainder is redirected funds from existing grant programs within the Department of Economic Development (DED).

The angel tax credit legislation (LB 389) provides up to $3 million in tax credits for investments made in small businesses primarily engaged in high-tech activities and requires a minimum $25,000 investment from individuals. The bill funds the tax credits by reducing the amount of credits offered under the Nebraska Advantage Rural Development Act from $4 million to $1 million, according to a press release from the Nebraska legislature.

LB 386 creates the Intern Nebraska Act and allows DED to allocate up to $1,500 annually from the Job Training Cash Fund in FY12 and FY13 to provide internship grants to eligible businesses. The 2011-13 biennial budget signed by the governor also includes $25 million for a university-based innovation campus.

The main budget bill is LB 374.

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