Energy Tax Would Help Region Regain Primacy By MATTHEW NEMERSON December 28, 2008
If the economy wasn't reason enough to make us anxious this holiday season, Tom Friedman's latest opus dedicated to the systemic weakness of humanity, "Hot, Flat and Crowded," will surely do the trick. It got me to think about the kind of steps we could take to make New England the place to be by 2020 — a region that is cool, spiky and connected.
For most of this decade, New England has been adding great jobs and producing wealth for those at the very top end while stagnating and losing opportunity for most everyone else. Now, with the country — and maybe the world — losing its footing, what could we do to move us back to our rightful position as the leading region in America?
Can we use our small size yet dense population to reprise our role, established during the first Industrial Revolution, as the region of entrepreneurship, innovation, great schools and advanced infrastructure?
Consider a bitter pill that, taken now, will give us unique strength when things get really messy worldwide in 10 or 20 years. Instead of focusing on our financial problems of the next two years, we should aim at preparing for the coming systemic shocks from environmental challenges, global competition, and demographically driven pension and health care problems.
New England should become a cross between the gleaming infrastructure and free education of northern Europe with the state-supported research and business development systems of Singapore and South Korea.
So here is the deal (children close your ears): The six New England states — in a coordinated master plan — could create a set of new energy taxes many times higher than at present, creating a common floor, higher than the rest of the nation, for the cost of gasoline, home heating fuel, natural gas, and so on throughout the region.
If we can collect an extra dollar just on gas, we would create a revenue stream that could fund an authority with more than $6 billion in new annual dollars for regional education, better infrastructure, clean energy business R&D and investments in energy savings.
Think what we could do if we stopped being seen as the oldest part of the country and could re-engineer ourselves to be newest. First, we will raise enough money to address issues of true hardship for people and legacy businesses. Most important, we will have the funds to think strategically about our future instead of always reacting and settling for incremental fixes.
The new funds could create a superb New England-wide bus and rail systems, offer energy-saving investment loans for businesses and homes, reduce tuition in our community colleges and other schools for students who live here and want to take technology-related classes, and provide more risk capital for new businesses.
New England would have the money to build a clean energy cluster that could lead the nation. We would not only build better fuel cells better, we would be the living laboratory for the energy-scarce world that is coming. We are pretty sure that $4 gas and home heating fuel is coming back. Let's build a region that is battle-tested and ready for it.
I hate to think what is going to happen to New England if we spend 10 years cutting budgets and hoping that our energy costs and infrastructure needs take care of themselves.
Crazy and politically impossible? Maybe. But don't we want the world to beat a path to our door? Entrepreneurs, investment capital and the talented youth of the world will want to be here because we will be a good long-term bet for return on investment and career advancement. Let's make the New England brand about innovation and quality. We cannot ever be cheaper than China or Mexico, but we can be as good as Singapore or Denmark.
• Matthew Nemerson is president and CEO of the Connecticut Technology Council.
If the economy wasn’t reason enough to make us anxious this holiday season, Tom Friedman’s latest opus dedicated to the systemic weakness of humanity, “Hot, Flat and Crowded,” will surely do the trick. So, it made me think about the “out of the box” steps we could take to make New England the place to be by 2020. Read the full article as published by Mass High Tech
Special for Connecticut Magazine, January 2009 - 12/11/08 - The battle for jobs is not about tax rates, parking lots or more efficient government. It is about Connecticut becoming known as North America’s best location for high potential entrepreneurs. Start by attracting the special people who are skilled at starting and building firms capable of fast growth. Build a few exceptional programs that answer key needs for workforce, innovation support and global connectedness. ...
State of CT - Announces tech grants for incubating companies Governor M. Jodi Rell announced that six more start-up technology companies have received a financial boost through the Connecticut Small Business Incubator Program.
The Center for Network Centric Product Support Research (NCPS)
Back in Aug. 2008, 8 companies received grants they were: New Ortho Polymers, LifePharms, Evergen, MakScientific, Agrivida, Conversion Energy Enterprises, and MysticMD. Full Story...
Program info can be found on CCAT's website. If you believe you qualify for this funding, please contact Paul Striebel at CCAT (860.282.4231) to have an application package sent to you. The purpose of the program is to provide grant money to help defray the financial burden of maintaining and growing a start-up technology based business. Potential uses of this funding include, but are not limited to the following:
Business Plan preparation
Patenting, licensing costs
Locating new facilities for companies ready to graduate from incubator status
Testing or research to support proof of principle
The State of Connecticut has made $1.0 M available to fund this program, which will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis beginning December 1, 2007. Qualified companies will be eligible for grants totaling up to $50,000.
(l-r) Matthew Nemerson, Joan McDonald - State of CT, DECD, Frank Wolak - Fuel Cell Energy, Beth Alquist - Day Pitney.
The Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) has presented its annual Innovation Excellence Award to member company FuelCell Energy, Inc. a Danbury-based fuel cell company. The award was made at the Council’s Annual Meeting held at surgical device manufacturer Covidien in North Haven. Scott Flora, from Covidien welcomed CTC to it's facility:
About the Awards:
2008 Innovation Excellence Award The Innovation Excellence Award is now in its fifth year and is given to the CTC member which has displayed technology leadership in its industry vertical, grabbed increasing market share, and been recognized for innovation by its peer or trade groups and industry analysts. Previous year winners have been ATMI, Inc of Danbury, Pitney Bowes of Stamford, Open Solutions Inc of Glastonbury and Sonalysts, Inc of Waterford. FuelCell Energy leads the way in the development and manufactdure of stationary fuel cell power plants for commercial and industrial applications. Their fuel cells provide ultra-clean power and are on the cutting edge of the energy market. Clients include Pepperidge Farm in Bloomfield with the largest fuel cell plant in the U.S., The Ford Motor Company and the U.S government. They are the acknowledged leader in stationary fuel cell technology and they have put the Connecticut fuel cell industry on the map. With five-hundred Connecticut employees in both Danbury and Torrington, FuelCell Energy is led by R. Daniel Brdar, its Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.
2008 Public Policy Leader of the Year Award Receiving the Council’s 2008 Public Policy Leader of the Year award was Joan McDonald, the Commissioner of the state Department of Community and Economic Development. The award recognizes the individual who is providing leadership in support of the technology based set of economic development polices the Council believes are best for the state. Commissioner McDonald is a proponent of innovation, and is a supporter of groups working together to support entrepreneurs. She has been willing to back and endorse the role of non-governmental groups such as the Council in helping to achieve important State goals.
2008 Volunteer of the Year Also honored at the 2008 CTC Annual Meeting was Beth Alquist as its 2008 Volunteer of the Year. Beth is a partner at Day Pitney where she is currently the co-chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property Department and the past chair of both the Women Working Together and the firm's Diversity Committees. At CTC, Beth serves as Chair of its Woman of Innovation Planning Committee which she has led since 2006. She done a superb job of leading the 20 women who volunteer on this committee and helped build the event to 550+ attendee event that it is today. Learn more About Women of Innovation
About the Connecticut Technology Council The Connecticut Technology Council is the state’s industry association for the technology sector. CTC’s mission is to “connect people, ideas and opportunities to the global technology and innovation community.” CTC provides members with business assistance and specialized programs, in addition to promoting and supporting public policies that position Connecticut to have a globally recognized “culture of innovation” that helps attract great ideas and entrepreneurs to in turn develop new jobs and wealth for the state.
CTC Membership Help us build a vibrant culture of innovation in Connecticut today! Join Connecticut's largest technology trade association today! To become a member please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or enroll online.