A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Time for a New Tax Code

Dear Research Advocate:

Our elected representatives know they must make hard tax and entitlement reform decisions, and, for the sake of the nation, ensure those decisions foster economic growth and societal progress. Part of that equation is federal funding for medical research sufficient to capitalize on unprecedented scientific opportunity and tackle urgent threats like Alzheimer’s Disease. As I’ve highlighted before, a majority of Americans say they are willing to pay additional taxes — $1 more per week (which amounts to approximately $4.4 billion annually) — if they knew those dollars were funding medical research. The public is on our side with their wallets as well as their hearts and minds!

Speaking of taxes, the Senate Finance Committee is working on a tax reform package, and Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) are soliciting comments from their Senate colleagues to rebuild the tax code starting from a blank state. One component that definitely should be included is the R&D tax credit. This credit is a proven engine of economic development that spurs innovation. It creates jobs and supports critical medical research that otherwise would not be conducted. However, as it stands, the credit must be reauthorized each year. This is not only absurdly inefficient, it is counterproductive since the uncertainty it creates reduces the credit’s stimulative effect on R&D. First and foremost, of course, it is critical that the R&D tax credit be included in the tax package, but it is also extremely important to make the credit permanent to amplify it as a catalyst to economic and medical progress. Click here to view the letter Research!America sent in support of the tax credit, and click here to urge your senators to work with the committee to include the R&D tax credit in the tax package and finally make it permanent.

By joining forces, we can also advance the treatment of rare diseases through tax reform. Research!America has recently signed on to a letter expressing support for including the Orphan Drug Tax Credit in the tax package. This incentive is crucial to ensure a continued pipeline of treatments and cures for rare diseases. If you’re interested in listing your organization, please contact Lauren Neff with Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) before the close of business on Monday, July 22.

Let’s join forces on another issue. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-18-CA) has introduced bipartisan legislation to exempt user fees from sequestration. As I’ve said before, it makes no sense to sequester fees paid by industry, and it has the tragic effect of slowing access to new medical discoveries. Take a look at the legislation, and think about endorsing it. We need to unchain those user fees so they can be put to work for patients.

Looking ahead, The American Association for Cancer Research, organizer of the Rally for Medical Research held this spring, is coordinating a Hill Day to be held on Sept. 18 with patients, scientists and researchers. We know that it would involve travel for many of you, but we hope that you will consider joining this important effort. For more information, please contact Mary Lee Watts.


Mary Woolley

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