Business & Economy
Braley Introduces Bill to Extend Payroll Tax Cut PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Thursday, 27 January 2011 09:09

Bill Will Cut Taxes for Businesses that Hire Unemployed Workers

Washington, DC – January 26, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced a bill to cut payroll taxes for businesses that hire unemployed workers. The Back to Work Extension Act extends a provision of the HIRE Act that provides employers a payroll tax break if they hire workers who were previously unemployed.

“Creating jobs is my top priority and this program is already proven to put Iowans back to work,” said Braley. “Between February and December of 2010, Iowa businesses hired more than 104,000 workers who are eligible for this tax cut. This tax credit works – and we must extend it now to give employers incentives to create jobs and hire unemployed workers.”

The Back to Work Extension Act will exempt small businesses from paying the employer’s share of the Social Security tax for up to one year through December 31, 2011 – if they hire workers who have been unemployed for more than 60 days prior to employment. Employers who keep eligible employees on the payroll for 52 consecutive weeks will receive an additional $1,000 tax credit. The previous exemption expired on December 31, 2010.

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Grassley Highlights Introduction of Tax Patent Bill to Advance via Broad Patent Reform Act PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Thursday, 27 January 2011 08:37

WASHINGTON – January 25, 2011 - Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa with colleagues today introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent any individual or firm from being able to receive patents on tax strategies.  The tax patent legislation also is included in the broad patent reform bill under review in the Judiciary Committee.

“Tax patents prevent taxpayers from being able to use certain tax strategies unless they’re willing to pay for them,” Grassley said.  “It’s unfair for taxpayers to have to pay for these methods.   Also, tax patents undermine a tax system based on voluntary compliance.  Our legislation reins in the cottage industry of those trying to own tax planning strategies that should be available to everyone or that would encourage inappropriate tax avoidance.”

Grassley co-authored the Equal Access to Tax Planning Act, which was introduced today with Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and other senators.   The bill also is included in the Patent Reform Act of 2011, which the Judiciary Committee will begin considering on Thursday.  The patent legislation is described as offering a long-needed update of patent laws to preserve American invention and innovation, the cornerstones of the economy and job creation.

Grassley is outgoing ranking member of the Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over tax policy, and incoming ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.  He remains a senior member of the Finance Committee.

The text of the tax patent legislation is available at http://finance.senate.gov/legislation/.  Following is Grassley’s statement of introduction on the legislation submitted to the Senate record.

Senator Grassley Statement Regarding the Equal Access to Tax Planning Act

Mr. President, Senator Baucus and I first introduced a bill to ban patents for tax inventions in the 110th Congress. Since then we have worked with the leaders of the Judiciary Committee, the Patent and Trademark Office, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, industry, and members of the patent bar to perfect the language.  I am pleased to introduce this new and improved bill today with Senators Baucus, Levin, Wyden, Bingaman, Conrad, Enzi and Kerry.

There are strong policy reasons to ban tax strategy patents.  Tax strategy patents may lead to the marketing of aggressive tax shelters or otherwise mislead taxpayers about expected results.  Tax strategy patents encumber the ability of taxpayers and their advisors to use the tax law freely, interfering with the voluntary tax compliance system.  If firms or individuals were able to hold patents for these strategies, some taxpayers could face fees simply for complying with the tax code.  And, tax patents provide windfalls to lawyers and patent holders by granting them exclusive rights to use tax loopholes, which could provide some businesses with an unfair advantage

Tax strategy patents are unlikely to be novel given the public nature of the tax code.  Moreover, tax strategy patents may undermine the fairness of the federal tax system by removing from the public domain particular ways of satisfying a taxpayer’s legal obligations.  The Equal Access to Tax Planning Act expressly provides that a strategy for reducing, avoiding or deferring tax liability cannot be considered a new or non-obvious idea, and therefore, a patent on a tax strategy cannot be obtained.  This ensures that all taxpayers will have equal access to strategies to comply with the tax code.  I encourage support for this bill.

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Leahy, Hatch, Grassley: Patent Reform Will Protect American Jobs, Promote Economic Development PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 24 January 2011 10:02

…Legislation Bolsters Economy Without Adding To The Deficit

WASHINGTON (Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011) – A bipartisan group of Senators will introduce patent reform legislation when the Senate returns to session next week, Senate Judiciary Committee Members Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced Thursday.  The Judiciary Committee has worked to advance patent reform legislation since 2006.  Leahy is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has included the Patent Reform Act of 2011 on the Committee’s first executive business meeting agenda.  Hatch is the Committee’s senior Republican member and a former Chairman, and Grassley is the panel’s incoming Ranking Republican.

The Patent Reform Act of 2011, which will be introduced on Jan. 25, mirrors key improvements to the long-pending legislation that were announced last March as part of an compromise reached by the bill’s lead sponsors with then-Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), and others.  The legislation will make the first significant changes to the nation’s patent system in nearly 60 years, creating jobs without adding to the nation’s deficit.  The legislation remains based on the original version introduced in the 109th Congress by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Congressman Howard Berman (D-Calif.).

“Patent reform is a commonsense, bipartisan effort to protect jobs and bolster the economy,” said Leahy.  “The Patent Reform Act of 2011 is the product of years of careful consideration and compromise.  Promoting economic growth continues to be a top priority for both Democrats and Republicans, and patent reform is part of that effort.  This has always been a bipartisan, bicameral effort, and I look forward to working with Senator Hatch, Senator Grassley and others and with Chairman Smith in the House to enact meaningful reform this year.  This will be the first piece of legislation considered by the Judiciary Committee this year, and I hope the Senate will act promptly on this job-creating bill.  Action by Congress can no longer be delayed.”

“Reforming our patent system is a critical priority whose time has more than come.  It is essential to growing our economy, creating jobs and promoting innovation in our nation,” said Hatch.  “Working alongside Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Grassley and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, I know we can move this critical legislation forward.”

“The United States is the most innovative country in the world,” said Grassley.  “An efficient patent system is a necessary component to continuing and enhancing this job creating ingenuity and entrepreneurship. I look forward to working with Chairman Leahy and Senator Hatch to move this important legislation forward.”

The Patent Reform Act makes changes to first-window post-grant review, inter partes review, willfulness, interlocutory appeals, Patent and Trademark Office funding, and supplemental examinations.  The legislation will also transition the nation’s patent system to a first-inventor-to-file system and will provide certainty in damages calculations.  The legislation will also include important provisions to improve patent quality.

The compromise legislation on which the patent Reform Act of 2011 is based was supported by the Obama administration and by industries and stakeholders, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the United Steelworkers, the National Venture Capital Association, the American Association of Universities, and companies representing all sectors of the patent community who have been urging action on patent reform proposals for years.

This will be the fourth consecutive Congress in which comprehensive patent reform legislation has been introduced.  The Senate Judiciary Committee has held eight hearings in the last three Congresses examining the need for patent reform.  The Senate Judiciary Committee approved patent reform legislation in 2009.  That bill was cosponsored by 15 Senators.  In September, 25 Senators joined together to urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to schedule floor time to consider the legislation.

The text of the Patent Reform Act of 2011 is available online.

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Local media veteran joins Media Link to expand firm's PR & Marketing capabilities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Media Link Inc   
Monday, 17 January 2011 12:12

Rock Island, IL/January 5, 2011 -- A well-known name in Quad-Citiy media has joined forces with the region’s only 8(a) certified marketing firm. Leigh Geramanis joins the Media Link team as an Account Manager and will develop and manage new accounts.

Geramanis has been consulting with Media Link over the past eleven months, assisting with client development. “It has been such a great fit for both of us that it just made sense to make it ‘official.’ I’m so inspired by Natalie Linville-Mass’s business model. It’s exactly what businesses are looking for in this challenging environment: the ultimate in quality service, flexibility and results.”

Leigh’s career prior to Media Link afforded her a rare perspective on the workings of media. Leigh has been an award-winning medical reporter and anchor, in the international medical destination of Rochester, MN. Leigh later helped facilitate Mayo Clinic’s efforts to fight a railroad’s plan to send high-speed coal trains less than 100 yards from the Mayo’s Rochester campus. Leigh and her teammates helped educate policymakers, taxpayer watchdog groups, and the media about a proposed $2.3 billion federal dollar loan that would have financed the project. Their work resulted in the loan ultimately being denied. For six years, Leigh served clients of esteemed research and consultation firm, Frank N. Magid Associates, working with some of America’s most successful local television stations. Among her clients: Fortune 500 executives, an ambassador, and a recent governor. Since returning to her hometown in 2007, Leigh has worked as News Director for WQAD, and Director of Marketing and Communications for Trinity Regional Health System. Leigh is a graduate of Rock Island High School, Black Hawk College and Southern Illinois University.

I am so fortunate to have someone of Leigh’s caliber on our team. Her expertise as a consultant and in the filed of media is a big help for our customers. She reinforces our scope and capability as a marketing firm,” said Media Link founder and President Natalie Linville-Mass, who incorporated the company in 2001.

Media Link is a full-service integrated marketing firm specializing in strategic media buying and placement. Media Link works with businesses in the Quad-Cities and around the country to develop and execute customized marketing strategies to help them more effectively reach their customers. Media Link is the only marketing firm in the region to have obtained an 8(a) SDB certification, a designation of significance to clients who contract with the federal government.

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Ethanol Tariff PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Thursday, 13 January 2011 08:22

January 12, 2011

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today responded to comments from two senators that a tariff on ethanol imports likely violates international trade rules, as Brazil argues in opposition to U.S. ethanol policy.  Grassley comment:

“This isn’t a question for debate.  The highest authority on U.S. trade policy said more than two years ago that the U.S. ethanol tariff is clearly permitted under World Trade Organization rules.  Besides, the United States already provides generous duty-free access to ethanol from Brazil and other countries imported under the Caribbean Basin Initiative, but the CBI cap has never once been filled.  In fact, as of December 20, Brazil and other countries filled the cap for 2010 less than 1 percent.”

A letter from then-United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab to Grassley concluding that the U.S. ethanol tariff is WTO-compliant is available here.  A letter from Grassley to Schwab is available here.

 
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