By Beverly Caruso

There’s heated debate over whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for families with incomes over $250,000.We’re hearing the argument that letting the high-end tax cuts expire will hurt business. Yet I’ve seen first-hand how well-designed tax policy is critical for spurring innovation and business development. It plays a very different role than the anti-tax crowd leads us to believe.

CyberOptics, a leading high-tech company in the area of electronic inspection, was founded by my husband, Steve Case, in 1984, and now employs 180 people in Minnesota and around the globe. How this business came about tells a very different story about the role of our tax dollars – and the public investments they support - in job creation. This is an important story to tell if we want to recreate the fertile ground that allows new companies to start up and become successful, sustainable job creators.

Steve was a physicist and entrepreneur, whose education was financed totally by National Science Foundation grants and scholarships. Later, as a young professor he would again gain our government’s support through a Fulbright Scholarship. The scholarship led us to Germany where Steve deepened his scientific knowledge and met executives in Europe who would become major clients of his new business. Steve always said that fellowship year had a profound impact on his creativity, confidence, and skills. As a professor at the University of Minnesota, his partnership with a government contractor made it possible to conceive of and establish CyberOptics.

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