An extension of the federal research and development tax credits and passage of a comprehensive cybersecurity bill top the list of priorities that trade group TechAmerica is calling on Congress to take up during the lame-duck session.
TechAmerica president Phil Bond said he is hopeful the tax credit will see some action given that the White House has been supportive of a strengthened and permanent measure. Bond said the credit “needs to go, and it needs to stand on its own.” “It’s overdue and, again, it’s jobs for today and competitive edge for tomorrow.”
Officially known as the research and experimentation tax credit – the credit rewards companies that invest in the development or improvement of products in the United States. Since its creation in 1981, the credit has expired and been extended several times until the current Congress allowed it to expire in December 2009.
TechAmerica estimates this has put more than 100,000 jobs at risk, up from 83,000 jobs in September. The bulk of research and development investments, or 75 percent, is spent on employment.
Bond called the lame-duck session a window to pass consensus items that have been vetted such as a national data breach policy, a cybersecurity bill and legislation to reform the 2002 Federal Information Security Management Act.
A security and data breach bill introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., passed the House, and a bill by Sen. Mark Pryor D-Ark., closely aligns with the House version and could “move very rapidly” in the lame-duck session, said Liesyl Franz, TechAmerica’s vice president for information security and global public policy.
“We are holding out some hope because these are priorities that have been voiced and supported by leadership on all sides,” Bond said.
Last week, the trade association joined a list of 112 members of the Government Withholding Relief Coalition in a letter urging Congress to delay the 3 percent tax withholding for government contractors until the “ramifications can be better understood,” said TechAmerica spokesperson Charlie Greenwald.
The law, which will take effect in Januray 2012, requires federal, state, and local governments to withhold 3 percent of nearly all contract, Medicare and farm payments, the letter said. Greenwald called the tax an “onerous and “unnecessary burden” on companies and agencies.