By Doug Kelly
American innovation has powered our economy and changed how we live, work and do business. Especially during the pandemic, technology provided a lifeline for almost every business, from local restaurants to small businesses to global companies to harness online channels, appeal to new customers and to convert sales opportunities into realities.
More than 65% of Texas small businesses increased their use of digital tools during the pandemic, a trend that will likely grow.
As we emerge from the pandemic, Congress must maintain policies that allow our tech sector to continue to flourish. Our tech companies need a stable legal environment and access to capital. Unfortunately, some legislators have introduced proposals that would change the rules, cripple American innovation and pave the way for foreign adversaries in China, Russia and elsewhere to supplant the United States as the world’s most innovative economy. These proposals would forcibly break apart our most successful companies, ban them from investing in start-ups or require them to seek the government’s permission before engaging in routine business conduct.
Texas is a national leader in innovation. But these proposed federal changes would discourage investment and innovation in the technology sector overall, including in the state’s many regional tech hubs. Companies could no longer introduce new products or invest in new technologies without fear of federal reprisals. As a result, these proposals would threaten a vital sector that employs more than 1 million Texans and imperil the tools and platforms that small businesses rely on to reach consumers and compete.
These short-sighted proposals also increase the risk of serious cyberattacks. Last year alone, foreign ransomware attacks targeted everything from the Colonial Pipeline to local governments across Texas to federal intelligence agencies, including a hack of the FBI’s email.
Fortunately, our technology sector has invested billions of dollars, and is committed to investing tens of billions more, to protect America’s cyber infrastructure. The strength and leadership of America’s tech industry is a critical pillar in defending against foreign efforts to steal our intellectual property and hack into our most sensitive data. Our technology companies are the only ones with the resources and know-how to develop the smart, powerful tools needed to protect users against ransomware attacks.
U.S. Sens. Cruz and Cornyn have played a vital role as Texas has become one of the nation’s fastest growing tech economies and a place where every entrepreneur, big and small, wants to do business.
We hope our leaders in Congress will continue this trend by advancing policies that support American innovation and guard against threats from adversaries like China and Russia, ensuring that business owners and consumers alike will benefit from a robust tech-driven economy.
Don’t mess with Texas’s technology success.
— Doug Kelly is CEO of the American Edge Project.