Why Policymakers Should Support—Not Hinder—R&D
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This story can also be found within the NAM’s R&D action center.
Manufacturing is an industry built on innovation—but with a recent change in tax law, manufacturers are encountering a new and major obstacle to the critical research and development investments they need to make in order to compete at home and around the world.
The background: Up until January 2022, a business could deduct 100% of their R&D expenses in the same year those expenses were incurred. But a change to the law that took effect this year now requires businesses to spread those deductions over a period of years, making investment in innovation more expensive.
The manufacturer: At Brewer Science—a Missouri-based manufacturer in the semiconductor industry—this issue has become an urgent challenge. The company is a top producer of materials needed to make semiconductor chips.
- In such a fast-moving industry, staying competitive requires nonstop innovation—and that demands constant investment in new products and processes. According to Brewer Science Executive Vice President Dan Brewer, a significant percentage of the company’s revenue goes back into R&D every year.
- “Semiconductors are everywhere, and new generations are constantly being created,” said Mr. Brewer. “The only way to compete abroad in our industry is to out-invent the competition.”
The impact: By making R&D investments more expensive, the tax code hinders manufacturers’ ability to make necessary expenditures not only on innovation, but also on other kinds of growth. Already, the harmful tax change has impacted Brewer Science’s bottom line and put a hitch in its plans for the future.
- Because the new law requires a deduction to be spread out over five years, companies are paying more in taxes than they were a year ago—a result that is causing them to reassess future investments.
- “We have a long list of new hires that we’re trying to bring on board and new projects we’d like to begin, and now we’re looking to make adjustments,” said Mr. Brewer. “Which projects can we put on hold? Which hires can we delay? It’s unfortunate that the same people who want investment in onshoring our industry are penalizing those that are already here.”
The ask: Brewer Science’s request is simple: return the tax treatment of R&D expenses to the way it was so that manufacturers are not penalized for pursuing the R&D that is necessary to spur economic growth and maintain America’s global leadership in innovation. There is still time to undo this for the current 2022 tax year, but time is quickly running out.
- “We’re not asking for a handout,” said Mr. Brewer. “We’re just asking Congress to allow us to immediately deduct these expenses as has been the case for nearly 70 years, since before Brewer Science was even a company.”
The big picture: Mr. Brewer is also quick to point out the widespread impact of this change, especially for smaller companies.
- “There are some companies that can’t make it five years without the ability to immediately deduct their R&D expenses,” he said.
Our move: The NAM has been leading the charge to ensure the tax code continues to support innovation by allowing businesses to fully deduct their R&D expenses in the year in which they are incurred.
The last word: “Our industry moves extremely fast,” said Mr. Brewer. “We must invest aggressively in research and development to stay relevant and stay competitive.”
Manufacturers Unveil Competitiveness Agenda Ahead of Midterm Elections
“Competing to Win” offers a path for bringing the country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose
Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the midterm elections, the National Association of Manufacturers released its policy roadmap, “Competing to Win,” a comprehensive blueprint featuring immediate solutions for bolstering manufacturers’ competitiveness. It is also a roadmap for policymakers on the laws and regulations needed to strengthen the manufacturing industry in the months and years ahead.
With the country facing rising prices, snarled supply chains and geopolitical turmoil, manufacturers are outlining an actionable competitiveness agenda that Americans across the political spectrum can support. “Competing to Win” includes the policies manufacturers in America will need in place to continue driving the country forward.
“‘Competing to Win’ offers a path for bringing our country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The NAM is putting forward a plan filled with ideas that policymakers could pursue immediately, including solutions to urgent problems, such as energy security, immigration reform, supply chain disruptions, the ongoing workforce shortage and more. Manufacturers have shown incredible resilience through difficult times, employing more workers now than before the pandemic, but continued resilience is not guaranteed without the policies that are critical to the state of manufacturing in America.”
The NAM and its members will leverage “Competing to Win” to shape policy debates ahead of the midterm elections, in the remainder of the 117th Congress and at the start of the 118th Congress—including in direct engagement with lawmakers, for grassroots activity, across traditional and digital media and through events in key states and districts as we did following the initial rollout of the roadmap in 2016.
The document focuses on 12 areas of action, and all policies are rooted in the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.
Learn more about how manufacturers are leading and about the industry’s competitiveness agenda at nam.org/competing-to-win.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org