The Fund has evolved from the version outlined earlier (The Scientist, March 9, 1987, p. 10), and it will continue to evolve. As our chairman, Don Stein, has said, "Science legislation, like science, develops through the free and open discussion of ideas. In the process, the legislation gets developed, criticized and improved."
In the current draft, the Science Trust Fund is a congressionally chartered, independent corporation rather than a part of the National Science Foundation. We have also abandoned the tax on information as a source of revenue. We now propose that the federal government, state governments and private industry all help endow the Fund. A one-time federal appropriation of $30 billion would be leveraged against state matching funds and industry investments to endow the Fund. Patent revenues and other user fees would provide income to replace expenditures from the seed capital.
The Science Trust Fund is moving toward introduction. In the Senate, the staffs of J. James Exon (D-Neb.) and Albert Gore (DTenn.), the latter one of our advisory board members, are currently drafting legislation. In the House, the concept is being examined by Rep. Terry Bruce (D-Ill.). The staffs of Rep. George Brown (D-Calif.), Claudine Schneider (R-R.L), Buddy MacKay (DFla.), Doug Waigren (D-Pa.) and Robert Roe (D-N.J.) have expressed interest. Brown and Schneider are on our board.
As scientists, engineers and educators we have a rare opportunity. The links between technological advancement, science and the common good of all that we establish today will shape America in the 21st century. Get involved and help us develop and lobby for the Science Trust Fund. Together, we can see the most important legislation of the Reagan administration enacted.