U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today introduced Startup Act 3.0, an updated version of a bipartisan jobs and high-skilled immigration plan to strengthen the economic recovery through the creation and growth of new businesses. Co-sponsors of Startup Act 3.0 include Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). Startup 3.0 builds upon Startup 2.0, which was introduced in the last Congress.
Startup Act 3.0 creates both Entrepreneur Visas and STEM Visas for highly-educated and entrepreneurial immigrants to stay in the United States, where their talents and new ideas will fuel economic growth and create American jobs. The legislation also modifies the tax code to encourage investment in new businesses, helps to accelerate the commercialization of university research that can lead to new ventures, and seeks to improve the regulatory process by requiring a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of new proposed regulations.
"With a renewed focus on comprehensive immigration reform, it is imperative that we take commonsense steps to help Virginia and America compete and win in the global competition for talented innovators and entrepreneurs," Sen. Warner said "Our bipartisan legislation also proposes reasonable steps to reform our tax and regulatory policies to help promote investment and job creation. In addition, Startup 3.0 looks to accelerate the transfer of university R&D into the marketplace."
Research shows that for close to three decades, companies less than five years old have created almost all of the net new jobs in America -- averaging about 3 million jobs each year. Additionally, immigrants to the United States have a long history of creating businesses in America. Of the current Fortune 500 companies -- including Apple, Google and eBay -- more than 40 percent were founded by a first- or second-generation American. These American companies employ more than 10 million people. Both American and foreign-born entrepreneurs are needed to jumpstart the economy through the creation and growth of new businesses.
"I'm encouraged to see continued enthusiasm and momentum in Washington to support entrepreneurs," said Steve Case, a cofounder and former CEO of Virginia-based AOL and a member of President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, said. "With the reintroduction of the bipartisan Startup Act, Senator Warner is demonstrating a real commitment to help the United States win the global battle for talent. By creating a new visa for foreign students with advanced STEM degrees and immigrant entrepreneurs, and by eliminating the per-country cap on employment-based visas, we will make it easier for the best and the brightest from across the globe to start businesses, innovate, and create jobs right here in the United States."
"America has long been seen as the land of opportunity for innovators and entrepreneurs. I fear those days are coming to an end," Sen. Moran said. "At a time when our economy needs jobs first and foremost, America's archaic government policies have us falling behind. We are losing talent and jobs by the day to countries like Canada, Chile, and the United Kingdom that are aggressively courting the world's best and brightest. We must pass Startup Act 3.0, or we risk losing the next generation of great entrepreneurs and the jobs they create to countries that have taken action to attract and better support these innovators."
The provisions in Startup Act 3.0 have been endorsed by CEA, TechAmerica, Financial Services Forum, the National Small Business Association, Google, CONNECT, CTIA, Engine Advocacy, Computer and Communications Industry Association, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Angel Capital Association?, ITI, Northern Virginia Technology Council, Perceptive Software, Shenandoah Valley Technology Council, Silicon Valley Leadership Group?, Tampa Bay Technology Forum, TechNet, Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Wichita Chamber of Commerce.
Startup Act 3.0 includes the following provisions:
Creates an Entrepreneur's Visa for legal immigrants, so they can remain in the United States, launch businesses and create jobs;
Creates a new STEM visa so that U.S.-educated foreign students, who graduate with a master's or Ph.D. in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, can receive a green card and stay in this country where their talent and ideas can fuel growth and create American jobs;
Eliminates the per-country caps for employment-based immigrant visas -- which hinder U.S. employers from recruiting the top-tier talent they need to grow;
Makes permanent the exemption of capital gains taxes on the sale of startup stock held for at least five years -- so investors can provide financial stability at a critical juncture of firm growth;
Creates a limited research and development tax credit for young startups less than five years old and with less than $5 million in annual receipts. This R&D credit is designed to allow startups to offset employee taxes -- freeing up resources to help these young companies expand and create jobs;
Uses existing federal R&D funding to support university initiatives designed to bring cutting-edge research to the marketplace more quickly where it can propel economic growth;
Requires all government agencies to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of all proposed "significant rules" with an economic impact of $100 million or more. This new requirement will help determine the efficacy of regulations and their potential impact on the formation and growth of new businesses; and
Directs the U.S. Department of Commerce to assess state and local policies that aid in the development of new businesses. Through the publication of reports on new business formation and the entrepreneurial environment, lawmakers will be better equipped to encourage entrepreneurship with the most successful policies.