(photo credit: Avi Levy)
The United States should follow Israel’s lead in encouraging entrepreneurship
and innovation in clean technology, former New York governor George Pataki said
“Israel truly is taking a longterm look at innovation and growing
its economy,” he told The Jerusalem Post on the sidelines of the 2011 Landmark
Ventures Israel Dealmakers Summit in Tel Aviv.
“We need more government
encouragement of R&D... more recognition of the globally competitive nature
of the marketplace,” Pataki said.
“[Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz] is
talking about lowering the corporate tax rate to as low as 6 percent [for
certain companies in the periphery]; ours on average is 39%, and in New York
it’s even higher, and it makes it enormously difficult for our entrepreneurs to
Pataki, who now specializes in next-generation
vehicles and other environmental projects at New York law firm Chadbourne &
Parke, criticized the Obama administration for investing in corn ethanol at the
expense of other next-generation fuels.
“What I think government should
be doing is incentivizing generically,” he said, adding that rather than select
one from a variety of fuels such as corn ethanol, electric, hybrid electric and
fuel cells, it should let innovators and the marketplace dictate what works best
by providing incentives such as the lowering of corporate taxes for the first 10
million next-generation vehicles sold.
Although reluctant to rule out any
specific fuel source, Pataki predicted that electric vehicles would play a big
role in the future, adding that up to half-a-dozen companies could introduce
them to the US marketplace in the next year, including Better Place, which is
preparing to bring electric taxis to San Francisco.
Pataki, who has
visited Israel several times in the past and who works closely in his job at
Chadbourne & Parke with Israeli companies such as geothermal- energy firm
Ormat Technologies, said it was always exciting to witness the commitment to
entrepreneurship and to technology development displayed here.
predicted that Israel would continue to play an important role in the field of
clean technology for many years to come. But he warned that the industry must
look to survive long-term on more than government subsidies.
going to continue for the next decade to be an enormous need for innovation for
driving down costs... for scaling up products so you can achieve greater
efficiency,” Pataki told the Post.
Referring to the rising price of oil
and growing instability in Arab nations, Pataki said there was “enormous
near-term opportunity” to push ahead with clean-technology development, adding
that there was a particular urgency for the US because of its reliance on
“You couple that with the fact that it comes often from very
unreliable sources, not just in the Middle East... but also in places like Hugo
Chavez’s Venezuela,” Pataki said. “He is a terrible leader for his country and a
terrible enemy of freedom and America, and yet his economy is funded by US
imports of Venezuelan oil.”
Pataki’s resignation earlier this month as
head of the anti-health-care-reform group Revere America sparked rumors that he
is considering a bid for the Republican Party presidential nomination in
“Now I want to focus more broadly, both from the legal green-tech
side but also on public policy and much broader issues, than what I’m doing
right now,” he told the Post