Policy Watch from CompTIA


If an SMB Tech Company Falls in the Forest

When President Obama announced the formation of a Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (Jobs Council) in January, CompTIA was alarmed that none of the 23 members appointed by the President currently run a small business.

In response, our public policy team reached out to Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) to share data on who makes up the IT industry and encourage her to contact the White House to ask that the Jobs Council include a representative from the small IT business community. The congresswoman's district, like most congressional districts, is dominated by small businesses that provide jobs to thousands in the community.

Rep. Sanchez embraced our recommendation by organizing some of her colleagues to sign a letter to the President urging that "small information technology businesses be represented on your Jobs Council."

We are sharing that letter and trying to build momentum for such an outcome. Read more.


NIST Helps Federal Agencies Jump into the Cloud
The National Institute for Science and technology announced its next cloud workshop scheduled for April 7-8, in Gaithersburg, MD. Last year NIST convened a series of workshops on cloud computing to develop a roadmap for federal agencies to migrate to the cloud. Read more.

The State of Online Privacy 2.0
On March 16, the Senate Science Commerce and Transportation Committee held a hearing on the "State of Online Privacy". This was the first of two heating hearings focused on whether additional legislation was needed to protect consumers from how companies manage consumer data collected online. There was testimony from several private, not-for-profit and federal agency stakeholders. Senator Kerry plans to introduce a bill sometime soon. Read more.


House and Senate Vote To Repeal 1099
As expected, both the House and Senate moved quickly to vote for repeal of the Form 1099 reporting requirement. While there was broad bi-partisan support for repeal in the House, the margin dwindled at the last moment as a controversial pay-for provision (disliked by many Democrats) was included. However, following House passage of repeal, Sen. Reid stated that he liked the House pay-for more than the funding sources tapped by the Senate. However, at this point, the Senate has not scheduled action on the House-passed version. Read more.

Amazon Tax Hits Illinois
In Illinois, legislation that would shut down many small Internet businesses has been passed by both houses and sits on the governor's desk for signature. Dubbed the Amazon Tax, the new law would require any non-Illinois seller to collect Illinois sales tax if that seller acquires customers through a link on the Internet website of the Illinois business. At this time, Governor Quinn remains undecided on whether to sign this legislation, which has far-reaching consequences for many Internet businesses. Read more.

Tax Reform Conversation Continues
Both the House and Senate continue to hold hearings on tax reform. This month, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing entitled, "How Did We Get Here? Changes in the Law and Tax Environment since the Tax Reform Act of 1986". While the discussions so far have been macro in scope, there seems to be a growing consensus that corporate tax rates are too high and that tax credits and preferences are too diverse. Most parties seem to be moving toward the goal of collecting more revenue from a wider tax base. As this tax reform talk continues, CompTIA is developing guidelines that would best suit the business needs of small tech companies. Read more.


$5M for Small Business Mentoring Program
The Small Business Administration is providing grants ranging from $250K to $500K for organizations to provide support and mentoring for small businesses. The deadline for submitting grant applications is April 11, and the grant recipients will be announced soon after. The program is open to profit and non-profit organizations that have at least three years of national experience helping small businesses succeed. Read more.


This issue marks the first in a series that will focus on healthcare IT (HIT) regulatory developments and updates, what is happening with inter- and intra-state coordination and education efforts (Exchanges and RECS), and what the broader HIT economics look like. We will advance the priorities and agenda of our membership, and we encourage you to participate as we help shape the future of HIT to achieve better delivery of and access to medical care in the U.S.

Small IT Businesses Need Support for Healthcare IT Efforts
Standing at the intersection of the small business community and HIT, many of our nation's small IT firms will continue to be called upon to meet the growing HIT needs of patients, physicians, insurance companies and government agencies. But along with this huge opportunity for growth, there are many challenges for small HIT providers, because funding opportunities for capacity and workforce training are sorely limited. Read more.


TechVoice Puts Advocacy at Your Fingertips
Last month, CompTIA, in conjunction with the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) and several regional tech associations, launched www.techvoice.org, a grassroots advocacy website focusing on the needs of members like you. The website is filled with news, blogs and other information about what's going on in Washington, D.C., and highlights specific issues affecting the industry. Among the many useful items on TechVoice, one item stands out in particular: the TechVoice Legislative Resource Center. The Legislative Resource Center can be found under the "Get Involved" tab of the TechVoice homepage. Read more.


Tax Reform: What Is Important to Your Business?
For years, Congress has kicked the subject of tax reform down the road. Most everyone is in agreement that the tax laws and regulations are too complex, the system is inefficient, and compliance costs are too high.

The last major tax reform occurred in the 1980s. While there was wide support for that reform effort, many argue that it contributed to the collapse of the commercial real estate market, which was itself a huge factor triggering the ensuing savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and 1990s. The obvious historical lesson is that any industry must be prepared to analyze and advocate.

CompTIA Public Advocacy would like to begin a conversation with members to determine what tax principles are most important to small tech companies. It is important that we determine our basic tax needs and principles in order to become a part of the tax reform discussion.

Please Join us at AMM
We would like to use this opportunity to establish a tax reform working group to guide CompTIA's public advocacy efforts. Eventually, tax reform will move, with or without our input, but clearly it will be better if we actively participate in this process.

If you would like to join us at AMM, please contact Lamar Whitman, (lwhitman@comptia.org or Tel. 202.841.4488) for further information on time and location of this discussion.

The Public Policy Committee meeting at AMM is on Thursday, April 7, at 8:00 a.m.

   To read previous issues of Policy Watch, click here..

March 2011, Issue 8
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Annual Member Meeting

Cybersecurity Bill Could Be Stalled By House-Senate Differences

The Hill
House to Consider Stand-Alone 1099 Legislation

Washington Technology
Report Sees Growth Ahead For Federal IT Services Contracts


The Department of Agriculture seeks support for implementing automated indexing software.

The National Archives and Records Administration seeks contractor to implement a software system for automated quality control analysis of digital video files.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission needs maintenance and modernization support for NRC application systems and IT environments.

The Department of Health and Human Services seeks a contractor to provide security program support for the NIH Information Security Program.


CompTIA Annual Member Meeting
April 6-7, 2011
Chicago, IL

CompTIA Colloquium
April 6-7, 2011
Chicago, IL

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April 20, 1:00 p.m (CT)
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April 27, 1:00 p.m (CT)
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CompTIA Breakaway
August 1-4
Washington, DC

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Key CompTIA Public Policy Contacts

Innovation & Competitiveness
Elizabeth Hyman
Vice President, Public Advocacy

Tech Entrepreneurs &
Healthcare IT
Lamar Whitman
Director, Public Advocacy

IT Security
David Valdez
Senior Director, Public Advocacy

PAC and Grassroots Advocacy
Matthew L. Evans
Manager, Public Advocacy