Tech Talk: Additional 'Next Level' Legislative Victories












Tech Talk: Additional 'Next Level' Legislative Victories

Last week, we discussed the recently passed $250 million Next Level Trust Fund created to enhance what the state can do to help invest in high-growth Indiana companies. But much more was done during the 2017 Indiana General Assembly session to enhance Indiana's innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem and opportunities. In the budget bill, legislators created an option for state employee defined contribution plans to invest up to 20% of their contributions in an Indiana-focused fund. That will be in addition to the $250 million Next Level Fund.

The budget also has a $15 million per year Business Promotion and Innovation Fund, which gives the Governor and Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) funds for the following: encourage regional development initiatives (to maintain momentum with Regional Cities in other areas of Indiana), incentivize direct flights to regional and international airports, advance innovation and entrepreneurship education programs through strategic partnerships and support international trade.

The Launch Indiana initiative and Ball State University Entrepreneur Center will benefit from $1 million a year that was appropriated to help early-stage growth companies. The 21st Century Research and Development Fund, administered by Elevate Ventures, was fully funded at $30 million a year. Life sciences will receive a boost with a $20 million investment in the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute. And while the Venture Capital Tax Credit still is not transferable to attract additional out-of-state funding, the 2020 expiration date was removed. This creates additional certainty that it will be a positive factor in the future.

Faster broadband in many Indiana communities will result from the small cell legislation, which will enable more rapid deployment of 5G broadband. Unfortunately, some communities hastily passed ordinances to block the streamlining intent of the bill by designating their community as underground utility districts. State agency open data will be more useful to the state's executive branch, policy makers and stakeholders with the passage of HB 1470 and the $9 million a year to fund the Management and Performance Hub. This robust integrated data system will be further built out to apply analytics to many important issues facing Indiana and our communities. It will increase government transparency and provide additional data-driven solutions. And Certified Technology Parks will benefit long-term by the development of better performance metrics of success as defined in HB 1601. They will be evaluated every three years with those metrics that will be developed by IEDC with input from local units of government.


Mark Lawrance | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | (317) 264-7547

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