Reflections from the State of the Union

Yesterday, as the President addressed members of Congress, he focused growing the nation’s capabilities by “out-innovating, out-educating and out-building the rest of the world.” President Obama highlighted innovation, competitiveness, the economy, jobs, and reducing the deficit, as a means to achieve these goals.

As I listened to his speech, I couldn’t help but notice that President Obama addressed many of the themes that have been central to the policy discussions hosted on here on LillyPad, specifically innovation and education. The Presidents words reiterated the important, yet complicated, policy decisions in front of us.

President Obama called for increased investments in innovation, specifically in RD stating that “in a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology – an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.”

Investments in medical innovation will continue to be critical. As I mentioned in my blog on Monday, the biopharmaceutical industry invests more into RD than any other industry. Lilly invests almost 20% of our revenues into finding new treatments and cures for diseases. But we must also remember, that innovation cannot always happen overnight. Sustained investment in RD is critical.

When the President releases his budget, we’ll be keeping an eye out for the RD tax credit. One policy option to consider to spur innovation is making the RD tax credit permanent. This will help to spur additional investments into RD.

The President also highlighted the need to simplify taxes and to reduce the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years. Implementing a territorial tax system can help put companies based in the United States on equal footing with companies based outside the United States.

The President pledged to prepare an additional 100,000 science, technology, engineering, and math teachers within the next decade, reaffirming the administration’s commitment to STEM education. We have frequently written about STEM education and the importance to the future of the economy, our competitiveness, and here at Lilly. Investments in STEM education will help companies, like Lilly, compete in the global marketplace. We agree that in order to achieve this goal we must invest in our students by providing them with resources and excellent educators dedicated to STEM education.

There were many good ideas in the State of the Union, but the devil will be in the details. I will continue to pay attention as the country moves from big ideas to implementation. As the president said (and I am paraphrasing here), it was great to see Democrats and Republicans sitting together, now we need them to work together.