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The source for actionable policy ideas to spur innovation.

About the Policymaker's Toolbox

This tool provides policymakers access to actionable ideas that will create a better economy and improve our quality of life. We include not only all policy ideas from ITIF but also ideas from other organizations that we think are worthwhile. Please contact us if you have a recommendation for us to feature.

10 Most Popular Policy Ideas

Studies show that the research and development tax credit is an effective way of stimulating private-sector R&D. Moreover, state R&D tax credits appear to be even more effective than the federal credit. While 38 states in 2006 linked their R&D tax credits with the federal R&D tax credit, allowing firms to take a 20 percent credit on increased R&D funding, many states have not...
The Secretary of Energy should establish a program that supports public-private clean energy research consortia and should make grants of $10-30 million annually for up to three years to three or more consortia. Eligible consortia should consist of two or more research universities or governmental research facilities and at least three other private sector firms engaged in research, development,...
Lifeline is a federally mandated government program that offers low-income households a discount on their monthly local telephone bill for basic telephone service. In a world where many households have the ability to use broadband for voice services (VOIP), it is anachronistic for this program not to allow consumers to use the subsidy for either traditional voice service (wired or wireless) or...
Angel capital, the capital invested by (usually) wealthy individuals in a region’s businesses, is as important as venture capital in supporting entrepreneurship. States can play a key role by helping to link angels and entrepreneurs. For example, the Wisconsin Angel Network (WAN) represents more than 200 individual investors and helps match them with start ups and young companies. Similarly,...
This program would resemble the current Technology Improvement Program (TIP) operated by NIST but would have an even greater focus on broad sectoral consortia and would allow large firms as well as small and mid-sized ones to participate. To be eligible for matching funding, firms would have to: form an industry-led research consortium of at least five firms; agree to develop a mid-term (three-to...
A wide array of economic studies points to the importance of IT in driving productivity. Yet, most states are still stuck in the old economy when it comes to their tax incentives for manufacturers. Most provide a sales tax exemption for manufacturers for equipment purchased in the manufacturing process, and some even provide tax credits for the purchase of manufacturing equipment. But few extend...
Commercialization and entrepreneurship are keys to economic development. To maximize both, there should be at least one organization in each state that has this as its mission. One model is Oklahoma’s non-profit i2E organization. Through its various programs i2E helps Oklahoma companies with strategic planning assistance, networking opportunities, and access to capital. Likewise, Pennsylvania’s...
Scientists and engineers are key drivers of innovation. Yet the number of Americans obtaining graduate science and engineering degrees has not kept up with demand. Indeed, almost one half of Ph.D. graduates of U.S. engineering, computer science, physical science, and life science programs are now from other nations. If we want the United States to continue to be the global innovation leader, we...
Before the 1986 Tax Reform Act taxpayers could average their income over three years, enabling them to avoid lower taxes in years when their incomes were temporarily low. The current federal tax code lacks this provision, penalizing workers who lose their jobs. Taxpayers should be allowed to average their income over three years and be able to take a tax credit for prior taxes paid if their tax...
One reason why USTR has not done more to enforce existing trade agreements is because doing so is quite costly and labor intensive. But much of USTR’s budget goes toward negotiating new trade agreements, as opposed to vigorous enforcement effort of existing agreements. Congress should increase USTR’s budget with the new resources devoted to enforcement and the fight against unfair foreign trade...