GOP senators vow support for high-tech industry

Senate Republicans are promising the technology industry "minimal regulations and minimal taxes" as well as help with problems ranging from worker shortages to intellectual property protection during the 107th Congress. Calling high-technology companies "the driving force behind the new American economy," members of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force vowed to support industry benefits, such as a permanent research and development tax credit, and pledged to oppose consumer privacy regulations and other forms of government "interference."

"We are skeptical that Congress should rush to delegate to government bureaucrats the task of developing effective mandates related to personal privacy," task force members wrote in a policy agenda. "Excessive government intervention would inflict serious damage to the economic advances of the information revolution," said Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah).

Freshman Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), who replaced Bennett as task force chairman this year, said the only limits on high-tech industries should be those imposed by their own creativity.

The 19-member task force expressed concern for "digital decency," but Allen ruled out decency standards for the music, movie, software or Internet industries. Instead, the senators plan to "advocate responsible entertainment products" and encourage parents and children to shun objectionable material.

The task force called for tax and regulatory policies that encourage faster deployment of broadband Internet access and improve protection of copyrighted material against piracy. Following President Bush's lead, the task force called for more technical education.

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