Federal

The FCC should publish broadband performance data on a six month basis.

The data provided the FCC's "Measuring Broadband America" report will become more useful as it is taken again and again so that trend lines can be constructed; the FCC should sample performance every six months.

Congress should pass the Electronic Consumers Right to Know Act (S. 1029), also known as the e-KNOW Act.

Intelligent technology could revolutionize the way we distribute and consume energy. But to harness these benefits requires a key ingredient: consumer access to data, including historical usage and real time information on consumption and current prices, in machine-readable formats they can share with authorized third parties to facilitate energy control and choice. However, many states lag in requiring consumer access, and utilities won’t act unless pushed. These problems lead to a fragmented market that present a challenge to broad innovation and broad-based consumer empowerment, when in reality innovation would be much better served by a single, uniform market with clear national standards. To that end, the Electronic Consumers Right to Know Act (S. 1029), also called the e-KNOW Act and sponsored by Senators Mark Udall (D-CO) and Scott Brown (R-MA), ensures that consumers and their authorized third parties are able to access and employ this data to make informed choices about how they use energy.

The Administration should increase the royalty rate on drilling activities, and these revenues should be dedicated to a clean energy innovation trust fund.

Just a five percentage point increase in the offshore royalty rate could produce an additional $2 billion in revenues—and potentially much more—in the coming years. Current rates are below those in many other industrialized countries, and increasing royalty rates would enable the United States to harness the economic value of fossil fuel reserves for direct clean energy investment. The Administration should move forward with a royalty rate increase soon, while Congress should create a trust fund to ensure new revenues from drilling are dedicated to clean energy innovation.

The Administration needs a comprehensive national manufacturing strategy for the U.S. to create a competitive environment for manufacturing firms of all sizes to flourish.

Having a national manufacturing strategy means designing the nation’s business, regulatory, and innovation policy environments to make the United States the world’s most attractive location for R&D and business investment in manufacturing (including foreign direct investment). A national manufacturing strategy would include a coherent set of policies based on the four T’s: technology, tax, trade, and talent. It would play an important role in aligning federal programs designed to assist U.S. manufacturers. The strategy should also explicitly support public-private partnerships designed to help strengthen the connection between research and commercialization and to help firms “bridge the gap” between transforming technologies developed in universities and federal laboratories into commercializable products. Having a manufacturing strategy is simply a way for the United States to understand what it needs to do—whether it’s why the United States needs to cut the effective corporate tax rate, reduce regulatory red tape, expand research funding—to help its manufacturers become more productive and innovative.

The White House should create an Inter-agency Administration Task Force to identify cases where U.S. foreign aid acts as a mercantilist enabler.

Create an Administration inter-agency taskforce that includes the State Department, US AID, Commerce, USTR, Justice, Labor, and other agencies as appropriate that works to identify cases where U.S. foreign aid policy acts as a mercantilist enabler. Such a taskforce should recommend specific actions, including tying U.S. foreign aid to reduction of other countries’ mercantilist practices using formal and informal diplomacy, and pursuing trade enforcement actions. The task force should also issue an annual notice of inquiry to allow interested parties to report foreign mercantilist practices adversely affecting U.S. economic competitiveness.

The Administration should create a one-stop website portal for business registration in the United States.

The Administration should task the Federal CIO with redesigning business.gov and undertaking a strategic design review of the federal and state small business registration process, redesigning it to create an integrated business registration Website encompassing both federal and state requirements and contemplating the entire lifecycle of needs for small business start-ups, thus creating a one-stop shop for business registration in the United States. In addition to federal requirements, the portal would incorporate all states’ business registration requirements into an integrated one-stop system. The registrant would need only to visit a single Website to register his or her business both with the Federal government and the relevant state government. The redesigned business registration process would also contemplate the entire lifecycle of needs and concerns for the small businesses. For example, it would bring information forward to the registrant about whether there are loan programs the business is eligible for, such as relevant Small Business Administration (SBA) or Economic Development Agency (EDA) loans, or information about lines of credit from local commercial lenders.

Congress and Small Business Administrators should create a Young Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program.

The Young Entrepreneurial Fellowship program would be a modest Small Business Administration (SBA) program, with funding of $5 million per year, to support the living expenses of 25 young entrepreneurs for two years each. An outside panel of entrepreneurs would help SBA review proposals and business plans from applicants. The fellows would also receive mentoring and other technical assistance as they seek to build an ongoing business. If just one of the 25 fellows creates a successful enterprise, the program would likely pay for itself in job creation and increased tax revenue.

The Congressional Office of Science and Technology Policy should provide incentives for industry-hosted temporary jobs for undergraduates.

Providing more opportunities for college STEM students to work in industry, especially early in their college careers, will help encourage more students to stay in STEM. As a result, the White House should request through executive order that government agencies begin sitting some of their student fellowship/internships/co-ops/summer jobs in industry locations (e.g., an agency’s industry suppliers or collaborators), if not prohibited by law. At the same time, Congress should allow companies to take a tax deduction for corporate employee time spent mentoring student hires. The company could claim up to 35 percent of the aggregate student hire hours as donations of employee time, at the median prevailing wage of their salaried employees.

Federal research grants should routinely require “token cost sharing” from the sector identified as the ultimate customer for the research.

One way to expand academic linkages with industry is to require more industry or other organization funding of research. Doing this would broaden the range of inputs during the framing of research projects. Contributions should be small and could be cash or in-kind; the purpose is merely to force up-front communication outside the academic sector. Research projects designed to ultimately yield consumer product or service innovations should have a $5K-$30K cost-sharing requirement with industry; those designed to produce education innovations should have a $1K-$30K cost-sharing requirement from the public or from educational institutions not receiving funds under the grant. Evidence of the origin of the donations would be required.