President Focuses on Innovation and R&D

Last night, President Obama focused squarely on innovation and R&D in the first third of his State of the Union address. Obama emphasized that the country faced a “Sputnik moment” and set goals around innovation, basic research funding, clean energy incentives, and education focusing on math and science.

The President stated ” we need to encourage American innovation. Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history — an investment that could lead to the world’s cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched. And no area is more ripe for such innovation than energy . . . but to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. ”

To spur innovation, he called for increased federal investments in biomedical research, information technology and clean energy technology.

Obama also proposed reducing the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years and paying for it by eliminating loopholes. He also called for simplifying the individual income tax code.

The focus on increased innovation, competitiveness with China and India and increased R&D funding could lead to further discussions this year on a permanent R&D credit.

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