MKS Instruments CEO Testifies before the House Small Business Committee

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MKS Instruments CEO Testifies before the House Small Business Committee

The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on September 11 to examine a range of tax policies that affect small companies. Leo Berlinghieri testified on behalf of SEMI. Mr. Berlinghieri is the CEO and president of MKS Instruments and the Vice Chairman of the SEMI North America Advisory Board.

The SEMI testimony urged Congress to extend both the R&D tax credit and the solar energy investment tax credit before adjourning for the year. This hearing was useful to highlight how these tax incentives benefit small businesses in the United States and to keep pressure on Congress to address them.

Excerpts of Mr. Berlinghieri’s testimony about the R&D Tax credit:

    The R&D tax credit has a long history of strong bi-partisan, bi-cameral support and it is unfortunate that it expired eight months ago. Growth of the American economy is closely tied to the ability of our companies to make a sustained commitment to long-term, high-cost research and development efforts. The credit provides a critical, effective and proven incentive for companies like MKS to increase their R&D investment in the United States. It is a stimulus for U.S. investment, innovation, wage growth, consumption, and exports. 

    While the R&D tax credit is expired, many countries such as Ireland, Canada and China have more attractive R&D tax incentives luring research jobs away from the United States. The United States used to have the best R&D tax credit and now we are way down the list as other countries have made this a priority and the United States has not.

    I urge Congress, before adjournment, to enact a seamless multi-year extension of a strengthened R&D tax credit.

Excerpts of Mr. Berlinghieri’s testimony about the Solar Investment Tax Credit:

    Solar energy is a new market for MKS Instruments and many other SEMI member companies. The materials and equipment used in the semiconductor industry is very similar to what is used in the solar energy industry. At a time when America’s energy independence is more crucial than ever, solar energy and other means of alternative energies are expected to boom. The commercial investment tax credit for solar energy expires at the end of this year and an eight-year extension is included in the Tax Extenders Bill. Unfortunately, due to uncertainty with the ITC, solar projects in the United States already have been put on hold.

    The commercial ITC for solar energy is a critical incentive for companies to locate their solar energy manufacturing facilities and projects in the United States. Other nations have very generous incentive packages for solar energy and are leading in investment in this area. If Congress fails to extend the credit, it will cause America to fall further behind and ensure that these investments are made overseas. There is no doubt that our country will be a user of solar energy. The question is whether we will be a producer of the technology or will we have to rely on others?

    I urge Congress, before adjournment, to approve an eight-year extension of the commercial investment tax credit for solar energy.

Click here for a video of the testimony.

Posted Oct 13, 2008