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Deadline and Decision Now Rests with the Legislature and Governor

Please take a look at the position paper we have created to make the case for understanding the need to support funding of the complete “innovation continuum” in the state.

CTC’s Policy Position White Paper Print it out and let your local legislator know how important this is to you and many businesses in Connecticut. Contact your CT representative and senator now

The Governor started things off in February by proposing $25 million in new funding directed to technology investments and a reorganization of economic development agencies in the state. This was countered by $125 million additional funding and a more dramatic reorganization from the legislative leadership in Bill S.B. No. 1.

Unfortunately, it is now unclear how much will happen this session as SB 01 has been cut back significantly as it made its way through other committees after leaving the Commerce Committee. We need to keep pressing all sides over the next few weeks to keep the momentum for action this session.

Because of the complexity of the issues and the short session, we may not secure more than the $25 million originally proposed, probably most going for early stage investment money for Connecticut Innovation. At least the battle is putting the issue and scale of solutions on the table for future consideration. This is very good news for all 2,500 companies in our Connecticut technology community.

Last week, two timely presentations were delivered locally, one by Tom Friedman and the other by William Harris. Friedman, or Mr. The World is Flat, presented at the Connecticut Forum where he spoke to the largest crowd ever to attend. If you’re reading this you know his message. If not, get his book or just Google the phrase. Also in town, William C. Harris, former Director General of the Science Foundation Ireland and the new CEO of the Science Foundation Arizona, gave a great speech that laid out the game plan of what a region has to do to become globally relevant from the perspective of someone who has done it. His talk at the University of Hartford should be required reading for all us and especially Connecticut’s boards of education who need to start contemplating the group efforts needed to position Connecticut the way Ireland has at the top of the European success ladder. They have been able to train their people and lowering taxes. Click here to read Harris’s lecture

R&D Tax Credits Could Be Reduced

An effort by the Finance Committee and the State’s Department of Revenue Services to have Connecticut conform to the federal government’s list of eligible R&D expenses that can be counted as part of tax credit applications seems to be a potential major problem for many of our members. S.B. No. 669 would require state companies to use section 41 of the IRS code instead of Section 174 when computer items are R&D expenses.

Thanks to the hard work by accountants Steve LaRosa of PricewaterhouseCoopers and Alex Discepolo of Deloitte an analysis of actual tax returns of software company clients points to firms losing tens of thousands and perhaps even hundreds of thousands of dollars of credits if the new law goes into effect. So, even though on average there may be little impact, for individual companies, especially smaller, faster growing ones, there could be real damage.

Though the bill has been passed by the Finance Committee, it still has to be approved by both houses. Please write or e-mail the Finance Committee members asking them to kill the bill for this year. There may be some changes that could be made for next year that will help DRS and truly hold our members unharmed, but this is not it.

If you’d like to see our data or want to help out more, please e-mail me today.

edgelab is a great model

A perfect example of how Connecticut should compete can be found in the success of the collaboration between UConn and General Electric as embodied in a facility located at UConn’s Stamford branch in a former department store in the heart of that city.

Here – where we actually held out last board meeting –amidst a sea of computers, plasma screens and wireless devices that do everything but butter your bread, is the heart of GE’s global emerging technology system and a program where students get to work side-by-side as consultants and strategic planners with GE executives. Visit edgelab online.

Given our proximity to so many corporate headquarters and executives, it is a great model that deserves to have analogous sister operations in a half dozen other industry areas. A financial trading version is operating in Hartford with support from SS&C. Visit UConn’s SS&C financial accelerator online.

After reading Harris’s words you can imagine a time when students will come to Connecticut from around the world to take part in our many famous and unique state-of-the-art, hands-on training and education centers. Why not? UConn is looking for money to start an entrepreneurial center, why not get it linked to some of our state’s entrepreneurs who are known around the world? In the meantime, edgelab is a Connecticut hidden gem that needs to be better known.

State is supporting innovation through a grant

We can now begin to provide even more hands on services to emerging technology firms with high growth potential and to build a database to expand the services of our old technology directory thanks to a $200,000 grant from the DECD. More details to follow in the weeks to come, but if you are interested in getting help through the new Innovation Pipeline Accelerator (IPA) or being chosen as an Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge FastTrack company, please contact us.

Matthew Nemerson President & CEO Connecticut Technology Council

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