policy

SSTI Innovation Advocacy Council publishes priorities for competitiveness legislation

Today, SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council published a letter to Congress urging the adoption of key tech-based economic development policies in the final version of competitiveness legislation that will soon be conferenced between the two chambers. Known as the U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness Act (USICA) in the Senate and the America COMPETES Act of 2022 in the House, these bills are proposing to authorize new activities to support science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship across numerous federal agencies.

Legislation to reform Opportunity Zones misses the forest for the trees

Earlier this month, legislators introduced bipartisan and bicameral legislation to modify Opportunity Zones (OZs). The beneficial changes would include a reporting requirement, which is overdue for the program,[i] as well as decertification of relatively wealthy zones.

SSTI Innovation Advocacy Council talks appropriations with Congress

As Congress has been finalizing the FY 2022 budget, SSTI Innovation Advocacy Council spent the week meeting with offices to discuss FY 2023 appropriations, which will begin ramping up over the coming weeks. The Council’s funding priorities for the year are increased support for the Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale program and the Small Business Administration’s Regional Innovation Clusters and Federal & State Technology Partnership (FAST) programs.

Innovation holds a high place in Biden’s State of the Union address

President Biden delivered his first State of the Union on Tuesday, March 1, and innovation policy was addressed early and often during the speech. Biden gave the most attention to semiconductor manufacturing incentives but also talked about ARPA-Health, college affordability, clean energy technology and supply chains for advanced industries. The message included a specific request that Congress pass one of the SSTI Innovation Advocacy Council’s top priorities.

House committee advances $7 billion regional tech hubs legislation

Earlier this week, the House science committee advanced a series of technology-focused bills, including a $7 billion authorization of regional technology hubs. This legislation completes the committee’s work to produce a companion to the Senate’s U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. The House and Senate legislation are not identical, however, and so the chambers will need to bring their versions into alignment. Among the key differences are that the House authorizes less funding for the program but also creates a new regional clean energy innovation program.

Senate approves new $10 billion program for regional technology hubs

This week, the Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a legislative package that includes the Endless Frontier Act. The tech-based economic development community should be excited about many initiatives authorized in the bill, including $10 billion for regional technology hubs, $100 billion in new R&D-related activities, and an expansion of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program.

Commentary: American Jobs Plan — Moving Forward

Much of the public policy and governmental spending focus to date regarding COVID recovery has been just that: recovery. The infrastructure proposal, the America Jobs Plan (AJP), President Biden unveiled this week represents his proposal to start moving forward.  In remarks about the proposal, he described it as “not a plan that tinkers around the edges,” a “once-in-a-generation investment” that will lead to “transformational progress.”

Congressional moves to increase R&D

While President Biden’s infrastructure proposal with heavy investments in science, technology and innovation garnered most of the press attention in the last week, a number of other developments occurred in or impacting federal policy, including:

Proposed changes to MSA standards creating concern

In January, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) posted a request for public comment on the recommendations it has received from the Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Standards Review Committee for changes to metropolitan and micropolitan statistical area standards. The 123 comments that have been recorded to date reflect a level of concern regarding changing the population threshold for urban areas and the impact on future funding that would have for these areas.

Kauffman updates entrepreneurship policy platform

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Start Us Up coalition announced an update to the America’s New Business Plan platform to advance entrepreneurship. The update places a strong emphasis on the importance of addressing the historical inequities of the American economy, as well as the urgent concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. The lead-in to the specific policy proposals also acknowledges the importance of providing sufficient support to new companies, not just all small businesses.

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