Indiana passes new legislation impacting college affordability and military tax exemptions

The Indiana General Assembly recently passed three bills that have the potential to impact the workforce in the state. Two bills address college affordability while the third exempts active-duty military from paying individual state income tax. House Bill 1449 will automatically enroll eligible students in a state program that offers 100% tuition coverage at public colleges, and Senate Bill 167 mandates high school students to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to increase students applying for financial aid. Meanwhile, House Bill 1034, now signed into law, exempts active-duty military from paying individual income taxes starting with fiscal year 2024.

One missing metric

For those readers who have seen their 53rd birthday, it was probably not a remarkable occasion. Perhaps it passed by without notice, and why should it? It isn’t regarded as a major milestone like 21, 50, 60 or 75.  What good is 53? It is often overlooked because we rarely run into it. We put 52 cards in a deck, but 53? We can’t deal with that.

Earth Day probably felt that way this year as Saturday, April 22, went by with fewer people marking its 53rd birthday than in previous years. Collectively, the gifts in its honor seem smaller, less meaningful.

Partnering for Progress: Commerce deputy secretary outlines strategy for strengthening U.S. global tech leadership

Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves called on business leaders to “lean into” partnerships with the public sector to strengthen the United States’ position as a global tech leader during remarks at a recent Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) summit. In his speech, Graves emphasized the crucial role that innovation in business models, human capital, and talent management strategies, including diversity and inclusion, play in driving U.S. tech leadership domestically and abroad.

SSTI members host regional entrepreneurship policy meetings

Five SSTI member organizations — Conductor, Nebraska Business Development Center, University of Louisville, University of South Alabama, and Verge — were awarded micro grants by SSTI to host policy meetings with state and local officials in their regions about the needs of innovation-driven entrepreneurs. The awards were made possible thanks to a project with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In total, the seven meetings held by these groups connected dozens of entrepreneurs and support organizations with federal, state and local elected officials, program administrators and staff.

Public input sought on federal bioeconomy strategy, needs

With the Dec. 20 release of two Requests for Information (RFIs), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy seeks public input to help guide the development and deployment of the National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative, which is intended to use the two disciplines to advance innovative solutions in health, climate change, energy, food security, agriculture, and supply chain resilience.

Why larger firms produce higher value inventions

A working paper published in the National Bureau of Economic Research asked the question, “Do large firms produce more valuable inventions, and if so, why?” An excerpt of an analysis of the paper that appeared in the November 2022 issue of the NBER Digest follows with additional consideration from SSTI Vice President Mark Skinner on its implications for technology-based economic development.

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. The Council has been talking with offices across the Hill about these proposals throughout the session and will continue to do so as the bill moves to conference.

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. However, the bill also introduces questionable changes, including extending the program by two years, shortening the holding period for one of the tax benefits by one year, adding zones with zero population in former industrial sites, and proposing to spend up to $1 billion on technical assistance. The bill also fails to address several fundamental concerns with OZs.

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.


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