Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Internet Tax Ban Passes Senate

Reuters wrote this morning that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed (402-0) legislation to extend the moratorium on state internet access taxes for seven years.

The U.S. Senate had passed the same exact bill last week, so now the bill goes to President Bush for an expected signature.

Sen. John Sununu, who wrote the 7-year extension as a compromise between a 4-year extension and a permanent ban, said he still hopes to permanently end the tax.

The ban is on internet-only (access and a "bit" tax on information as it transits a taxing jurisdiction) taxes. The ban protects instant messaging and e-mail, including voice and video messaging.

While proponents had argued for a permanent ban as encouraging broadband adoption and economic expansion. Opponents were concerned about local and state government revenue opportunities and the precedent of exemption for VOIP.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ray Gun Comes Closer

The Raytheon Corp's ray gun may get the chance to prove if it's a disruptive innovation yet.

The Houston Chronicle reports today that the ray gun could be deployed to Iraq early next year. Looks like the Marines have more than a few good men - they have a few good ideas too.

Our earlier blog (August 30) on this story explored the concept of the ray gun's advanced technology on the battlefield. Doubtless, tactics will have to innovate as much as the equipment has.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

US Chamber Calls for Permanent Internet Tax Waiver

The U. S. Chamber urged Senate leaders this week to permit a vote on permanently extending the tax moratorium on Internet access when the Senate considers H.R. 3678, the Internet Tax Freedom Act of 2007.

The House approved H.R. 3678, which only temporarily extends the moratorium another four years through November 2011, by a vote of 405-2 last week.

"By making permanent the Internet tax moratorium, Congress can be sure that this vital tool remains a key driver to continued economic growth in this country," wrote Chamber Executive Vice President of Governmental Affairs Bruce Josten in the October 22 letter.

Read previous letters to the House and Senate supporting a permanent ban.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pierce County Firm Funded by WA Tech Center

The Washington Technology Center has released its 2007 Annual Report.

While the WA Tech Center does admirable work around the state, we were pleased to note that one Pierce County firm, Visiongate website under development at this publication but backgrounded online, received a Research & Technology Development Award.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Maybe a Center for US AFter All

We originally spotlighted the cooperative relationship focusing on Cybernetics between Ft. Lewis and the Institute of Technology at the UWT in a June 13 posting.

Now, The News Tribune has expanded the spotlight on the cyber-warriors unit at McChord AFB. In an article published today, the TNT expanded the info on the local connection from information by Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne in the spring issue of Air and Space Power Journal.

What the community once decided to focus its tech development around, a Center for Excellence for Cyber-Security and Information Assurance, may have more of a node here that most expect. Although this effort at CNA (Computer Network Attack) is Air Force, maybe we can wish them success as they "Run Silent, Run Deep."

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Puget Sound Partnership Comes to Tacoma

Gov. Chris Gregoire announced the good news that she had selected Tacoma as the office for the Puget Sound Partnership.

The Partnership is a state coalition established in 2007 and charged with leading efforts to protect and restore Puget Sound. The Partnership's first and primary task is to work with governments, tribes, scientists, businesses and citizens to create a 20-year action plan by September 2008. Every two years, a short-term work plan for cleaning up the Sound will be developed from their 20-Year Action Agenda, corresponding with the state's budget cycle.

The City of Tacoma had been lobbying for months to get the Puget Sound Partnership to open an office in the City of Tacoma’s Urban Waters marine research center on Thea Foss Waterway. The satellite office will operate in close proximity to Tacoma’s environmental services division labs and UW-Tacoma research labs. It will bring about 32 jobs to the east side of the Thea Foss Waterway and expand the reach of Urban Waters, a public-private partnership that boosters hope will become a leading marine research lab.

The main user of the planned 40,000-square-foot Urban Waters building was shaping up to be scientists and engineers from the city’s environmental service department. It is hoped locating Puget Sound Partnership facilities alongside local, academic and private Puget Sound restoration efforts will encourage collaboration and lead to intellectual and technological marine research developments.

Adding the Puget Sound Partnership to the mix will likely require building a larger facility. Karen Larkin, an assistant Tacoma public works director, has said the state office would need 5,000 to 10,000 square feet. Officials probably would add a third story to the planned two-story building to accommodate the Partnership.

After years of planning, Urban Waters is gaining momentum. In March 2007, the Tacoma City Council agreed to spend $5.6 million to buy 3.1 acres along East D Street for the project. Tacoma is using city ratepayer money to fund construction of the estimated $18 million facility.

The University of Washington Tacoma is expected to sublease space, too. In July, UWT selected Professor Joel Baker to serve as the first Port of Tacoma chairman. He will conduct research and teach classes at UWT and serve as science adviser for Urban Waters. The Port of Tacoma, UWT, the City of Tacoma and container terminal operator SSA Marine contributed $3 million for an endowed chair.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Gov. Gregoire Announces First Innovation Partnership Zones

Governor Gregoire announced the designation of 11 Innovation Partnership Zones in Washington, geographic areas that will promote and develop the state’s regional economies of which the Foss Innovation Partnership Zone was a contender.

Innovation Partnership Zones build on the success around the world of “research parks,” such as the Research Triangle in North Carolina and Torrey Pines in California and bring together research and higher education opportunities, innovation and economic activity to be a strong engine for regional economies.

Washington is home to some of the greatest innovations in the world and I am excited to support the continued success of our state’s world-class companies, said Governor Gregoire. We’ve seen what can happen when we bring together research, training and commerce, put them in a beaker and shake - Innovation Partnership Zones will be powerful economic engines to support our regional economies.

The five designees were selected to receive grants totaling $4,275,000, allocated in the 2007-2009 capital budget, to jump-start development activities.

The Innovation Partnership Zones legislation calls for successful applicants to be awarded the designation of an Innovation Partnership Zone. Five of these applicants were also awarded grants, which may be used for such expenses as shared infrastructure, telecommunications, equipment or construction, and up to 10 percent for administration.

The applicants receiving the Innovation Partnership Zone designation are:
Aerospace Convergence Zone, Workforce Development Council Snohomish County.
Battelle, Sequim Marine Research Operations, Clallam Economic Development Council.
Bellingham Innovation Zone, Port of Bellingham – grant recipient.
Bothell Biomedical Manufacturing Corridor, City of Bothell.
Discovery Corridor Innovation Zone/Steinmueller Innovation Park, Columbia River Economic Development Council.
Grays Harbor Sustainable Industries Innovation Partnership Zone, Port of Grays Harbor – grant recipient.
Pullman Innovation Partnership Zone, Port of Whitman Countygrant recipient.
South Lake Union Life Science Innovation Partnership Zone, City of Seattle, Office of Economic Development.
Spokane University District Innovation Partnership Zone, Greater Spokane Inc. – grant recipient.
Tri-Cities Innovation Zone, Port of Benton.
Walla Walla Valley Innovation Partnership Zone, City of Walla Wallagrant recipient.

Governor Gregoire’s Web Site: More Information