PHOENIX, Dec. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As the leading advocate for technology companies in Arizona, the Arizona Technology Council and its Public Policy Committee today announced the publication of its "2014 Public Policy Guide." The Guide provides a framework of the Council's advocacy activities, featuring principles and positions to aid elected officials at all levels of government as they craft policies that will affect the technology industry and Arizona's economy for years to come.
"With the strength of over 750 member companies, the Council is one of the state's leaders in driving a pro-growth, business-focused state and federal technology agenda," said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. "Our positions and initiatives are crafted to create outcomes such as a healthy environment for technology-related job creation, adequate sources of capital that encourage entrepreneurship and highly trained talent to compete in a global, innovation-based economy."
The Council and its Public Policy Committee legislative priorities for 2014 are to:
- Create an Early-Stage Technology Venture Capital Fund
- Expand the Refundable Research & Development Tax Credit
- Encourage Uniform Commercial Code Technical Conformance Changes
- Improve University Intellectual Property/Technology Transfer Outcomes
Arizona Technology Council's policies and principles designed to advance its legislative priorities are listed below. To view and download the complete document that includes positions for each policy, please visit: http://bit.ly/19e72Dq.
Aerospace, Aviation & Defense
- With major prime contractors such as Raytheon, Honeywell, Boeing, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman as well as many military bases that employ thousands of skilled workers with high-paying jobs, the state and its legislators need to ensure assertive actions to maintain, strengthen and grow the aerospace, aviation and defense industries.
- Many firms seeking capital that are entering the critical "early stage" of growth and business maturation leave Arizona because this crucial early-stage capital is unavailable in Arizona. All the states surrounding Arizona as well as Mexico have created state-supported early-stage venture funds and more. Our state is losing out on this country's most coveted companies and jobs and it is time for Arizona to step up.
- Cyber security is one of the critical issues facing industry and our nation. Arizona needs to make it a priority to educate businesses on the risks and best practices in order to discern and block attacks from unfriendly counties and malicious individuals.
- Arizona must be allowed to compete with any state or country by having the most competitive economic tools available.
- Arizona's education system must be improved at all levels, including pre-kindergarten, K-12 and postsecondary. Further, the Council believes leveraging technology and infrastructure to ensure the availability of high-quality instruction, including a focus on e-learning, is key to producing students capable of competing in the global economy and delivering first-rate education all families deserve.
- Arizona should be the primary energy hub of the Southwest, with a diverse energy mix with reliable transmission and low-cost energy, supporting a strong manufacturing base.
- The Council is involved with many federal policy issues that impact member companies. Through its partnership with the Technology Councils of North America, CompTIA and TechVoice, it is regularly interacting with the congressional delegation on a number of critical issues.
- Telemedicine and its integration into delivery of healthcare through electronic means should be supported and fully enabled. That includes the use of wireless devices and facilitating expansion of a robust statewide telehealth ecosystem.
- The Council is committed to a state judiciary system that fuels a robust economic climate for Arizona businesses by providing fair and just processes. In particular, the Council seeks a court system that discourages lawsuit abuse, provides appropriate limits on the abuse of tort actions and provides certainty in the adoption of court rules.
State Budget and Taxation
- The state's recent economic turbulence notwithstanding, each annual Arizona budget must ensure an appropriate level allocated for technology infrastructure (i.e., hardware and software) and IT services to support high quality and reliable delivery of government services.
- Policy makers should strive to institute tax reform that encourages existing businesses to expand, increases Arizona's competitiveness in business attraction, allows for a broad and stable tax base, and ensures similar businesses are treated fairly and equitably.
- Arizona citizens benefit from improving safety, reducing travel time and enhancing commercial opportunities by multimodal corridors linking the state to Mexico, Canada, the Intermountain West and neighboring states. The multimodal corridors should include roadways and telecommunications pathways coupled with rail and energy rights-of-way when appropriate. Increase the use and adoption of high-capacity digital connectivity and technologies across major application spectrums and remove or reduce barriers that generate unnecessary costs or delays and otherwise inhibit expansion of privately funded, high-speed digital infrastructure.
- The Council actively works to support Arizona's universities and to improve the technology infrastructure upon which they rely. The Council supports an improved methodology for transferring technology from our universities and to enhance commercialization.
- One of the top issues for the Council members is the lack of skilled talent needed to support their growth. Accelerating and raising the awareness of the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, supporting college and career readiness, accountability in our educational systems and ensuring access to the best learning methods tailored to individuals has been a focus of the Council and its Foundation with the phenomenally successful Arizona SciTech Festival, Arizona Science and Engineering Fair, Arizona Middle School Science Bowl and many other endeavors.
- The Council advocates LGBT equality; supporting the requirement that employees are judged on their merits opposed to their identities, fostering an environment where innovation can thrive. Embracing basic principles of non-discrimination is critical for attracting and retaining a competitive workforce.
About the Arizona Technology Council
The Arizona Technology Council is Arizona's premier trade association for science and technology companies. Recognized as having a diverse professional business community, Council members work towards furthering the advancement of technology in Arizona through leadership, education, legislation and social action. The Arizona Technology Council offers numerous events, educational forums and business conferences that bring together leaders, managers, employees and visionaries to make an impact on the technology industry. These interactions contribute to the Council's culture of growing member businesses and transforming technology in Arizona. To become a member or to learn more about the Arizona Technology Council, please visit http://www.aztechcouncil.org.
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SOURCE Arizona Technology Council