THE WASHINGTON SCENE
that would implement the tax cuts President Bush proposed. The legislation
(number not available) would reduce marginal tax rates across the board;
increase the child tax credit; ease the marriage penalty; make the research
and development (R&D) tax credit permanent; increase the annual contribution
limit for tax-favored education savings accounts; and phase out estate, gift
and generation-skipping taxes. A package introduced by Senate Minority
Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) does not include making the R&D tax credit
permanent, but it would encourage a higher rate of retirement savings.
Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the Self-Employed Health Insurance Fairness
Act (S. 29) that would provide a 100 percent deduction for health insurance
immediately. Current law would not make it fully deductible UNTIL 2003.
NSPE supported a similar measure in last year's tax proposal and will
support it again in the 107th Congress.
bill to make the research and development (R&D) tax credit permanent and
increase the alternative incremental research credit (AIRC) rates. NSPE is
a member of the R&D Credit Coalition, which urged swift action on this
bipartisan legislation. House Ways & Means Committee members
Nancy Johnson (R-CT) and Robert Matsui (D-CA) introduced the House
companion bill (H.R. 41) on January 3. "Senators Hatch and Baucus
and Representatives Johnson and Matsui have demonstrated exceptional
leadership on this issue and can count on the enthusiastic support of the
more than 1000 companies and 87 trade associations represented by
the R&D Credit Coalition in achieving this vital goal," said a coalition press
release. The coalition and NSPE will be working to get the permanent
credit into the President's tax package.
bill (S. 133) that would make permanent the exclusion for employer-provided
education assistance programs. The bill would expand the exclusion to cover
costs associated with graduate, as well as undergraduate courses. Former
House Ways & Means Committee Chair Bill Archer (R-TX) had consistently
opposed the exclusion. It is expected the new committee chair Bill Thomas
(R-CA) will be more receptive to making it permanent for both graduate and
undergraduate courses. NSPE endorses making the exclusion permanent for
courses at both levels.
Management Subcommittee on Oversight, will hold hearings in February on the
government's management of personnel issues affecting federal workers.
Because of the number of federal employees who will be eligible for
retirement in a few years, he is concerned that institutional knowledge will
go with them. His hearings will explore the development of a comprehensive
plan to address the problem. Voinovich also wants to look at whether
employees are receiving needed training and the proper incentives to do a
good job. NSPE will attempt to have the issue of the Office of Personnel
Management's (OPM) classification of engineers raised at the hearing.