SEMI and other Associations Collaborate to Help Jumpstart the U.S. Economy


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SEMI and other Associations Collaborate to Help Jumpstart the U.S. Economy

Eight high-tech industry associations have proposed a stimulus package for the slowing American economy. The associations include SEMI, TechNet, Information Technology Industry Council, AeA, and the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). In a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), the associations state their concern that current efforts focus on consumer spending and fail to address some of the fundamental challenges facing our economy. In letters to the White House and the leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the associations urge policymakers to focus on fundamental challenges facing our economy in addition to the consumer portion of the stimulus package.

Maggie Hershey, senior director of U.S. public policy at SEMI North America, said that her group will followup with Members and Hill offices. SEMI will encourage politicians to deal with some of the high-tech community’s issues, and not just focus on the consumer-spending side of the stimulus package. “A lot of these issues have been priorities for a long time, and they are certainly relevant to an economic stimulus package,” said Hershey. “It underscores how important it is to invest in innovation since there is such a tangible benefit to the economy.”

In part, the letter states, “If we are to jumpstart our economy and get it back on the road to recovery, we will need more than a new battery and another tank of gas. We will need a new engine, and the best way to do that is by unleashing the American spirit of innovation and creativity.”

How to Promote Innovation in the U.S.

The associations propose four “timely, targeted, and temporary” recommendations:

    1. The U.S. should dramatically increase its efforts in research and development (R&D). To retain an innovative edge in the world economy, the associations want the U.S. to commit significant resources to R&D. However, the R&D tax credit expired on December 31, 2007. The letter proposes that Congress enact a multi-year extension of a strengthened R&D tax credit and provide funding of basic R&D at the levels passed by Congress in early December.

    2. The U.S. should direct the benefits of technology on two major US challenges— health care and the environment. The letter calls for bold tax incentives to help stimulate new environmental breakthroughs and to encourage consumers and businesses to purchase new energy saving products and save on energy costs. It suggests that similar incentives should be enacted to allow doctors, health care facilities, and health care networks to invest in interoperable health IT equipment.

    3. The U.S. must commit to developing and attracting the best and brightest minds in the world. The associations want to ensure that every American student pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) has the necessary grant and loan incentives to graduate and enter the workforce. In addition, high-skill immigration reform is needed so that U.S. educated, foreign-born students in these STEM fields can stay in the U.S.

    4. The U.S. needs to reinvest in itself. Congress should pass a short term Investment Tax Credit targeted toward information and communications technology equipment, according to the proposal. This tax credit would help banks, small businesses, retailers, and other businesses maintain their investments in computers, and help high-tech manufacturers maintain the investments needed to keep their factories up-to-date.

The high-tech associations believe that these recommendations will have an immediate impact in 2008 and 2009. They state that in the long-term, a decade of economic research demonstrates that the U.S. can boost long-term economic growth by stimulating the development and adoption of new technologies.

For more information, please contact Maggie Hershey at mhershey@semi.org.