State of the Union From a Tech Perspective

BY Heather Greenfield
January 25, 2012

Tech industry advocates could easily spot some longstanding items from the innovation agenda within President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.

President Obama said “innovation demands basic research.” He warned Congress not to gut these programs when they balance the budget. Obama reminded them that federal research is what led to innovations like the computer chip and the Internet. He also spoke briefly about the need to complete the high speed broadband network, which is a platform for all sorts of innovation.

The president touted the recently passed trade bills saying it would put the United States ahead of schedule of his goal to double exports in the next five years. As the largest exporter, the tech industry had been advocating for these agreements to pass since before Obama came to office.

President Obama called for comprehensive immigration reform, but noted if that was too political that Congress should at the least ensure that those graduating with advanced degrees should be given visas – not returned home to compete against the United States.

He announced he would create a Trade Enforcement Unit to investigate unfair trade practices abroad. CCIA has told Congress it considers Internet censorship by some countries to be a violation of our trade agreements.

There was no direct mention of the Internet censorship bills, SOPA and PIPA that narrowly escaped a vote in the senate this month.  But the president did speak against regulations that would reduce investment for start ups and there is certainly a link between venture capitalist investment, according to a Harvard Business School study which CCIA commissioned. Online liability rules like the ones that SOPA and PIPA would have added. President Obama asked Congress to “tear down regulations that prevent entrepreneurs from getting the finances they need to grown.”

The president also advocated for tax deductions for businesses that manufacture products here and said that deduction should be double for high tech companies.

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