Tax Policy Uncertainty Is Holding Us Back

To invest or not to invest, that’s the question on the mind of businesses large and small all across the country. What’s holding them back? Well there are lots of reasons, the economy, the season, their future growth expectations and tax policy to name a few. Most of these reasons make sense. A business owner must think about the investment and decide if it’s an expenditure worth making, a risk worth taking. What’s not reasonable though is that tax policy is one of these questions.

As our nation continues to plod through a tepid recovery, slow investment has a broader impact throughout the economy. When enhanced Sec. 179 is expired and a construction business or a family farmer doesn’t buy a new piece of equipment that allows them to upgrade technology, be more efficient or take on a new project, that decision has a negative impact on the outlook for that individual company and the manufacturer that makes the equipment.

These decisions delaying investment have a ripple effect throughout the supply chain and the broader economy. In contrast, investment incentives like enhanced Sec. 179 expensing, bonus depreciation and the comparable provisions allowing the accelerated use of AMT credits benefit companies of sizes and help stimulate economic growth.

Ask Vermeer Corp. a mid-size industrial and agricultural equipment company. A multi-generational family company founded in Pella, Iowa, Vermeer’s equipment is used by customers large and small, in various sectors including oil and gas, electric and water utilities, from infrastructure to agriculture. As stated by the former chair of the NAM Board of Directors, Mary Andringa, CEO of Vemeer Corp. in The Hill newspaper (add link) in August, “failing to further extend the Sec. 179 expensing and bonus depreciation laws would curtain the investment value chain connecting, large, mid-size and small businesses.”

At the heart of that chain is the manufacturing supply chain which employs more than 12 million Americans (or 9 percent of the workforce) and supports an additional 5.6 million American jobs. As we said at the beginning there’s a lot of factors for a business owner to consider when making an investment, tax policy uncertainty shouldn’t have to figure into the equation.

This is why the NAM has made this week, Investment Week. Manufacturers need lawmakers to support tax policies that encourage investment, allowing job creators to invest more money into new equipment and machinery to grow and compete. Congress must renew these incentives now and empower manufacturers to lead our nation to sustained economic growth. Learn more at

Carolyn Lee

Carolyn Lee

Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute at The Manufacturing Institute
Carolyn Lee is Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute, the non-profit affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the nation’s largest industrial trade association. Carolyn drives an agenda focused on improving the manufacturing industry through its three centers: the Center for the American Workforce, the Center for Manufacturing Research, and the Center for Best Practices.

In her role, Carolyn leads the Institute’s workforce efforts to close the skills gap and inspire all Americans to enter the U.S. manufacturing workforce, focusing on women, youth, and veterans. Carolyn steers the Institute’s initiatives and programs to educate the public on manufacturing careers, improve the quality of manufacturing education, engage, develop and retain key members of the workforce, and identify and document best practices. In addition, Carolyn drives the agenda for the Center for Manufacturing Research, which partners with leading consulting firms in the country. The Institute studies the critical issues facing manufacturing and then applies that research to develop and identify solutions that are implemented by companies, schools, governments, and organizations across the country.

Prior to joining the Institute, Carolyn was Senior Director of Tax Policy at the NAM beginning in 2011, where she was responsible for key portions of the NAM’s tax portfolio representing the manufacturing community on Capitol Hill and in the business community and working closely with the NAM membership. She served as the Director of Legislative and Government Affairs at the Telecommunications Industry Association, Manager of State and Federal Government Affairs for 3M Company, and in various positions on Capitol Hill including as Legislative Director for former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and as a senior legislative staff member for former U.S. Rep. Sue Kelly (R-NY).

Carolyn is a graduate of Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania graduating with a B.A. in Political Science. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and three children.
Carolyn Lee

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