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SEMI pushes Congress to reinstate R&D, extend solar investment tax credits

12 September 2008 | By Tom Cheyney | News >

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uscapitolIndustry trade association SEMI has urged the US Congress to immediately reinstate the R&D tax credit and to pass a long-term extension of the investment tax credit for solar energy. The R&D credit expired on Dec. 31, 2007, and the ITC is set to expire at the end of the year.

These and other tax issues were the focus of a hearing held by the Small Business Committee of the House of Representatives on Sept. 11. Leo Berlinghieri, CEO and president of MKS Instruments, testified on behalf of SEMI in support of immediate extension of these credits.

"The R&D tax credit has a long history of strong bipartisan, bicameral support, and it is unfortunate that is was allowed to expire eight months ago," Berlinghieri told the committee. "The credit provides a critical, effective, and proven incentive for companies to increase their R&D investment in the United States."

The company executive also discussed solar energy and shared data from a Navigant Consulting study. "If extended, the solar energy ITC is expected to create almost 40,000 more jobs and $8 billion in investments in 2009. If it is not extended, those jobs and investments will go elsewhere."

SEMI says its nearly 800 US member companies spend heavily on R&D--on average about 10-15% of revenues--face steep costs because of the intricate challenges of developing new generations of advanced semiconductor manufacturing processes and technology.

Many of its members are also involved in the photovoltaics industry, according to SEMI. Because of concerns about a possible lapse of the solar ITC, SEMI sent a letter to the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives urging that this credit be extended before adjournment which is scheduled for late September.

"Other nations have very generous incentives for solar energy and are leading in investment in this area," noted Victoria Hadfield, president of SEMI North America. "Now is the time to extend the ITC for solar energy. Failure to do so will ensure that these investments are made overseas."

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