GOP platform: Broadband and R&D tax credits

By , IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless

The Bush Administration has largely tried to avoid companies competing in the broadband marketplace, while making wireless spectrum available and extending the moratorium on Internet access taxes, Marburger said. "The administration understands this new (broadband) phase of the information technology revolution," he added.

Democrats, including former U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Reed Hundt, have accused Bush of not being aggressive enough in pushing for a nationwide broadband infrastructure. Some Democrats, including Representative Rick Boucher of Virginia, also suggest a hands-off regulatory approach may not be enough to bring broadband to all corners of the U.S. Boucher has advocated tax credits for companies that roll out broadband in rural areas.

Democrats have also focused on offshore outsourcing as an issue in the presidential campaign. Boucher in June suggested Congress should explore tax penalties for moving jobs overseas.

The Republican platform doesn't deal with the issue of outsourcing, but calls for worker training for new jobs to be more readily available. "Ensuring that workers have the tools they need to succeed in the 21st Century Economy is a critical step in helping Americans be self-sufficient and successful," the platform says.

The Democrats' criticism of offshore outsourcing has turned off some technology executives, said Rick White, president and chief executive officer of the TechNet coalition. "Our members didn't like the idea that they were being called Benedict Arnold CEOs," said White, a former Republican congressman.

But both parties have heavily courted the support of the technology industry by pushing such issues as an improved U.S. education system, White said. Republicans, often supported by business leaders, have to be reminded not to take tech industry support for granted, White said.

While technology policies in both parties' platforms can translate into support from the IT industry, technology issues don't often turn into the ultimate political goal -- votes during elections, White noted. "Tech issues don't really move any voters," he said. "It's a rare tech issue that motivates anyone to vote."

The Republican platform is available at: http://www.gop.com/media/2004platform.pdf.

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