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Federal Policy Agenda

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Startup Agenda

Startup Agenda Principles

Access to Talent

The modern American workforce requires a flexible employment environment that allows workers to find opportunities that best match their skills, interests, and availability.

  • TechNet opposes efforts to eliminate or severely restrict this essential flexibility, including restrictions on the use of independent contractor and consultant classifications, inflexible overtime rules, and the indiscriminate expansion of collective bargaining rules. 
  • TechNet supports efforts to develop new avenues and “safe-harbors” that empower companies to provide benefits to workers without impacting classification outcomes.

Access to Capital and Markets

Startups thrive when they have access to capital and markets.  State and federal policymakers can improve the capital allocation process through targeted reforms to regulations and tax laws.  TechNet supports:

  • Federal policies that create “venture exchanges.”
  • Promoting more stock ownership opportunities for workers at startups by allowing them to defer the tax associated with the exercise of their personal equity until they sell the underlying shares and thus have the cash to pay the tax, instead of taxing these options upon vesting.
  • Federal policies that reduce unnecessary barriers for private companies opting to go public.
  • State-level policies that encourage crowdfunding.
  • The permanent exclusion of federal and state capital gains taxes on investments in startup businesses that are held for more than five years.
  • Innovative tax credits that can apply to other tax requirements beyond corporate income tax obligations.
  • Ensuring that tax policies affecting the gig and sharing economy help promote economic opportunities, provide clarity, do not impose significant administrative burdens for job creators, and also recognize the unique differences that exist among the business models of innovators operating in this growing segment of the economy.
  • A smart regulatory approach that requires state and federal regulators to review any regulation’s impact on startup companies and new business creation.
  • International trade agreements that reduce market access barriers for digitally delivered goods and services, promote the free flow of data across borders, and contain “safe-harbors” against intermediary liability and strong protections for intellectual property.

Access to Innovation

Public policy should help startups move projects efficiently from the idea phase to the new business phase.  TechNet supports:

  • The exploration of new ownership models, including co-ownership between inventors and universities.
  • The creation of a National Innovation Foundation — modeled after the National Science Foundation — to focus on innovation and technology commercialization.
  • Patent litigation reform that levels the playing field to promote innovation in all sectors of the economy and minimizes frivolous litigation.
  • Procurement reform at the local, state, and federal levels that acknowledges the evolving technology landscape and enables governments to purchase and utilize innovative and secure products on a technology-neutral basis.
  • Efforts to open insurance markets to competition.

Immigration Reform

The world’s most talented innovators and entrepreneurs should be able to stay in the U.S. and contribute to the economy, rather than be forced out to start competitor businesses in competitor nations.  TechNet supports:

  • Federal immigration legislation, regulations, policies, and adjudications that facilitate, not restrict, the movement of high-skilled workers and entrepreneurs starting a new company.
  • Numerical levels and categories for high-skilled non-immigrant and immigrant visas should be responsive to economic need and, where appropriate, include mechanisms to fluctuate based on transparent, predictable, and objective standards.
  • The removal of per-country green card caps.
  • A STEM visa for foreign students attending U.S. universities and colleges who have earned master’s degrees or above.

Education Reform

An educated, diverse American workforce is the lifeblood of the innovation economy.  TechNet supports:

  • Consistent short- and long-term funding for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and computer science courses.
  • Strong standards and rigorous assessments to better evaluate what and how students are learning.
  • Programs that ensure principles of computer science, computational thinking, and STEM skills are integrated in other areas of K-12 instruction.
  • Effective professional development and new teacher training programs to train high-quality STEM and computer science teachers.
  • Policies and programs that focus on providing STEM education and career opportunities for female and minority students.
  • School and public/private programs, such as robotics clubs, that emphasize hands-on, inquiry-based learning to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
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