Silicon Valley Competitiveness: A Mid-Year Policy Report

Now at the halfway point of 2016, there is sand in the gears of Washington, D.C. but we’ve seen some policy developments that bode well for Silicon Valley at the state and local level.

Here are some highlights – and some lowlights – on immigration reform, education and transportation:

Immigration:  The use of immigration as a galvanizing force in the Presidential campaign has reduced the already painfully small chances that Congress will find the bipartisan consensus needed to advance immigration reform in the short or medium term.   Meanwhile, the immigration status quo continues to hobble the innovation economy in this country.

Education:  It’s been a good month for early childhood education in California. The new state budget includes an additional $7.8 million to provide access to preschool for nearly 3,000 eligible children in the 2016-2017 year. Over the next four years, funding will increase to $100 million to serve an additional 8,877 children in full-day state preschool slots. In addition, efforts to do away with guaranteed transitional kindergarten statewide were turned aside.  That said, we’re still not back to pre-2008 funding levels, and the need for high-quality early education remains great.

Transportation: Santa Clara, San Francisco and Santa Cruz Counties are revving up to consider transportation relief measures on the November ballot. The Santa Clara County measure is the most ambitious of these: It would complete the extension of BART to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara as well as providing funds for Caltrain electrification, speeding up expressways and filling many, many potholes.

Coming soon, 2016 status reports on the housing and tax front….