TBED-Focused Bills Capturing Attention in Several States

April 13, 2011

Proposals that promise job creation and economic growth have taken center stage in several state legislatures. Lawmakers who recognize the importance of R&D, tech commercialization, access to risk capital, and investment in higher education are fighting for passage of TBED-focused bills in the final months of their states' 2011 legislative sessions. A bill to revive the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, which failed in the legislature last year, recently passed the House with broad, bi-partisan support, restoring hope for the program that aims to grow science and technology companies. Meanwhile, two bills in Connecticut seek to boost technology transfer and lawmakers in Alaska and Florida are pushing for statewide R&D tax credits. An overview of select bills relating to TBED is included below.

Alaska
Gov. Sean Parnell is championing legislation aimed at stimulating private sector investment, entrepreneurial activity and business expansion by establishing a 20 percent tax credit for companies that conduct qualified R&D. The tax credits would be capped at $10 million under HB 118.

Connecticut
Two bills recently introduced in the Connecticut legislature seek to increase technology transfer from research conducted by private companies. SB 1174 would establish a Connecticut Innovations Factory Board within the Department of Community and Economic Development to develop and implement plans to use mentored student teams to commercialize technologies patented but unused by Connecticut companies. The board also would work with the student teams to develop new technology-based businesses. The bill authorizes up to $3 million in bonds for the program.

The second bill, SB 1171, would establish a Higher Education Technology Transfer Policy Board to identify the business and technology sectors leading to job creation and economic growth, review university tech transfer policies, promote research collaboration with business and industry in exchange for patent and license rights to developed technology, and create a method to support the negotiation for research collaboration.

Florida
A bill to establish a statewide R&D tax credit is moving through the legislature in Florida. Tax credits for companies conducting R&D under HB 671 and SB 942 would equal 10 percent of the difference between a company's qualified R&D expenditures in the current year and its average R&D expenditures over the previous four years.

Missouri
The House last week passed an economic development bill that includes a provision to establish the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA). Supported by Gov. Jay Nixon, the legislation would dedicate an annual portion of new tax revenues generated by biotechnology companies to a newly created state fund to be used for attracting top scientists, commercializing research, recruiting and building science infrastructure, and creating capital programs for early stage technology companies. HB 468 passed with broad, bi-partisan support with a vote of 144-7 in the House.

Nebraska
A measure in Nebraska (LB 386 ) aims to better connect student interns with private industry and improve the state's retention of skilled college graduates by providing financial incentives for companies to offer paid internships. Companies would apply to the Department of Economic Development for job training grants to assist in hiring interns. Grants may be up to the lesser of 40 percent of the cost of the internship or $3,500. The $1.5 million in grants for the program would be allocated from the Nebraska Job Training Cash Fund.

Vermont
The Senate advanced a broadband bill this week designed to expand coverage across the entire state by the end of 2013 and upgrade the state's electric lines with smart-grid technology," a measure some lawmakers have been trying to pass for four years, reports the Associated Press. The timeline established in the bill (S. 78) coincides with a requirement to expend all ARRA broadband funds within three years and is consistent with Gov. Peter Shumlin's goal for broadband deployment.

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