2012 promises to be an interesting year in Washington, D.C., with the upcoming presidential election dominating the political scene. Members of Congress will be anxious to wrap up the session so they can get home to campaign for reelection. This means that the calendar will be compressed and legislative achievements will be limited.
That said, hot issues will kick up (such as the online piracy debate), and we see some opportunities to push ahead with CompTIA priorities. Moreover, Washington sometimes favors long-term thinking, and the issues where we stake out leadership now can reap returns down the road. So with that in mind, we share with CompTIA membership our 2012 Public Policy Priorities:
Support Skills for the 21st Century Workforce
Even in this uncertain economy, there are more than 300,000 IT and IT-related jobs that are presently unfilled. As a country, we need to do a better job of getting educators on the same page with employers so that Americans are career-ready and able to thrive in the IT field.
As the leading global provider of vender-neutral IT workforce certifications, CompTIA can play a leading role in this effort. This year we will continue to focus on how our public workforce system can be more responsive to this task. In addition we want to find ways to work with employers and employees to improve individual skill levels through education and training. And we will be on the front lines of ensuring that the federal workforce is adequately trained in IT.
Champion the SMB Tech Entrepreneur
Seventy-five percent of all IT products and services are sold to businesses through the channel, as opposed to through retailers or direct sales. This represents more than $350 billion in sales, a significant contribution to the national economy. Many of these channel companies are small and medium-sized enterprises, and CompTIA estimates that these SMB IT firms employ nearly 2 million Americans, spending over $110 billion annually on payroll. Yet, when national policy is debated, the interests of these SMBs are too often misunderstood.
This year, CompTIA will fight for access to capital so that small innovative companies can get the resources they need to grow and contribute even more to the economy. We will continue to advocate for a fair and simpler tax code, with our first priority an extension of the payroll tax holiday. CompTIA also will fight for a fair and rational approach to interstate taxation on goods and services sold over the Internet – one that appropriately exempts small businesses from excessive compliance costs.
Lead in Internet Governance and Security
Tablets, smartphones, game consoles and traditional desktop and laptop computers continue to proliferate. We now have more raw computing power contained in our smartphones than the cumulative mission control IT capability that propelled mankind on the first lunar missions in the 1970s. Increasingly, economic expansion will rest on the creation of new and innovative business models and solutions that leverage Internet-based platforms. The rules that govern these platforms must ensure security, protect consumer needs, and provide a level playing field so that small and medium-sized companies can participate in our Internet economy.
This year, we will support efforts to pass meaningful legislation on cybersecurity and press for a rational approach to data breach and notification laws. CompTIA will weigh in on emerging privacy legislation to ensure that there is a proper balance between consumer-friendly practices and barriers to entry for SMB firms. We will insist on technology-neutral legislation so that platforms like cloud computing can flourish.
Lastly, as new technologies such as mobility and machine-to-machine technologies take shape CompTIA will help to keep policy makers abreast of developments and their implications. We need education and understanding before action.
To learn more about our annual priorities click here. Feel free to contact the CompTIA public advocacy team if you have any questions. Follow us on Twitter: @CompTIA or @Tech_Voice, and stay tuned.