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State and Local S&T Update

April 28, 2000

All States

Whether or not to tax e-commerce has become a states’ rights issue. The industry-led Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce has recommended to Congress that it extend the current ban on e-commerce sales taxes for five years; the moratorium is set to expire in October, 2001. While governors in several states have been vocal in their opposition of any e-sales taxes, 42 governors have submitted a joint letter to Congress blasting the ban as a special interest tax break that interferes with state sovereignty. More information is available from the National Governors’ Association web site: http://www.nga.org/Releases/PR-12April2000Internet.asp


State legislation has been passed to provide 100 percent tax credits of up to $1,500 per year per person toward costs associated with information technology (IT) training for IT skills determined to be in short supply by the Arizona Department of Commerce. HB 2442/SB 1332 were passed with the aim of addressing the shortage of skilled IT workers. For copies of the act, visit: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/legtext/bills.htm


The San Diego City Council has approved the creation of a 15-member Science and Technology Commission which will focus on information technology issues. The commission will set IT policies and procedures for the city and will encourage the use of IT in many government functions such as economic development, public safety, and education. The commision also will develop a IT infrastructure plan for the city and explore pursuing federal funds, such as the Technology Opportunity Program, to address local digital divide issues.

Officials at the University of California – Los Angeles report the university has reached its goal of raising $1.2 billion in private donations two years ahead of schedule. Nearly half of the funds will go toward medical sciences facilities and research. Some of the balance will support graduate research and faculty enhancement at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, which exceeded its individual fundraising goal for the campaign. As a result of the early finish, the school is seeking to raise an additional $400 million for interdisciplinary studies in life sciences and information technology.


The Delaware Economic Development Office Department and the Delaware Advanced Technology Centers are hosting Problems, Solutions and Innovations, a regional technology transfer conference on May 3 at the University of Delaware, Newark Campus. The day-long event is designed for researchers and professionals in biotechnology, advanced materials, and information technology to identify problems, solutions and opportunities for innovation through a series of workshops and networking sessions. Participants who submit problems, such as new business start-up, capital acquisition, intellectual property protection or sales and marketing generation, before the conference will be matched with contacts from industry, academia or government, who may help to identify a solution. More information, including registration cam be found at: http://www.state.de.us/dedo/psi.htm


Over the next five years, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Lab contractor Bechtel BWXT Idaho (BBWI) promises to help create 3,000 new private sector Idaho jobs that are not dependent on the Lab. BBWI’s economic development efforts are supported by a $1.4 million annual budget of non-federal funding. While much of these resources will be used to support and augment local economic development organizations, BBWI is willing to invest directly in new companies.


HB 2688, the Kansas Capital Formation Act, has passed the Kansas House of Representatives by a vote of 92-13. The bill offers tax incentives for the creation of Capital Formation Companies to enhance the development of seed and venture capital in Kansas and support the modernization and expansion of the state's economy. The bill is now being considered in the Senate where passage is in jeopardy, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. Among the bill's opponents is Lt. Gov. Gary Sherrer, who heads the Department of Commerce and Housing, which would administer the program.

New York

Governor George Pataki is not letting the state legislature's decision not to fund his plan for a Hudson River research center stop the planning process. Using $1 million in discretionary funding, the Governor announced the creation of a task force and advisory council for the Henry Hudson Institute for Riverine and Estuarine Research. Governor Pataki likens the proposed center to a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for rivers.


Senate Bill 286 has been introduced to improve the commercialization prospects of research developed at state colleges and universities. The bill would make it easier for a college or university employee to have a financial interest in companies based on research they developed.

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