The technology industry scored a number of substantial wins over the
last several years, due, in part, to the Council's advocacy and the
support of Massachusetts Congressional Delegation.
- Congress extended the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which established
a moratorium on the imposition of "discriminatory" state
and local taxes on Internet access and e-Commerce. Senator Edward
Kennedy took a leadership role in obtaining this favorable result.
- Congress enacted legislation granting permanent normalized
trade relations with China, which enables U.S. companies to benefit
from China's membership in the World Trade Organization. Senators
Kennedy and Kerry and Congressmen Neal and Meehan supported this
- Congress enacted legislation giving electronic signatures the
same legal recognition as handwritten signatures, spurring the
development of electronic commerce and creating significant efficiencies
and cost-savings. The entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation
supported final approval of this legislation.
- Congress extended the R&D tax credit on a longer-term basis,
through June 30, 2004, making the Credit a more effective tool
because corporations are able to factor it into their long-term
R&D spending plans. The entire Massachusetts delegation co-sponsored
this legislation, recognizing that sustained investment in R&D
is the engine that drives innovation in a global economy.
- The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) improved the
methods of accounting for business combinations, enabling entrepreneurs
to employ an appropriate accounting treatment of goodwill when
growing their businesses through mergers and acquisitions. The
change specifically allows the goodwill created to be written
down only to the extent that it has been impaired and not by amortization
against future earnings. The Council played an active role in
a national coalition working on the issued, including testifying
at FASB's public hearings and before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee.
- The Massachusetts House delegation co-sponsored legislation
lifting export restrictions on mass-market encryption products,
stimulating the Administration to substantially liberalize export
controls on encryption software. Strong encryption software is
critical to the growth of electronic commerce and to the protection
of our national security.
- Congress enacted legislation increasing the number of H1B visas
granted annually from 115,000 to 195,000 through 2003. Senator
Edward Kennedy's leadership in improving the education and training
provisions of the legislation, and in extending the time period
during which the new cap will be effective was a major factor
in this success.