ANA Priorities Top President Obama’s State of the Union Address

January 21, 2015

The Association of National Advertisers welcomed the President’s remarks during the State of the Union on tax reform and data privacy, two issues that are also of high priority to ANA and its members.

In last night’s address, the President acknowledged that if we do establish sound data privacy policies “we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe.”  The President’s new proposals concerning data security, including the Personal Data Notification and Protection Act, is a step in the right direction, and setting a federal standard for data security laws has been long advocated for by ANA and fifteen other industry groups. However, it remains imperative that, as these policies are constructed, we do not work hard to establish a federal rule only to allow individual states to once again undermine rational data breach standards with a plethora of approaches. Instead, we are looking forward to working with the Administration and Congress to find a way to preempt the current patchwork of 47 inconsistent state laws and develop a system that would allow businesses to better comply with data breach standards, preempting the state laws in the area and only requiring reporting for material breaches.

The President also spoke about his vision to simplify our complex tax code. Smart tax reform provides an opportunity to close loopholes and eliminate the special interest write-offs that restrict the competitiveness of all business, while refraining from proposing new deductions that could potentially hurt business. Advertising should continue to be represented as a business necessity as any changes to the advertising deduction could severely undermine the U.S. economy and put millions of jobs at risk. Advertising has long been treated as a necessary cost of doing business, and for good reason. It serves as the only way in which every company across the U.S. can communicate efficiently and effectively about their products and services.  We were pleased that the President did not support proposals that have been floated in Congress to amortize advertising. Without advertising built in as an essential ordinary and necessary business expense, most businesses would be severely burdened by these new costs.

With a great focus on job creation and growth, we believe that the Administration would not want to implement policies with the potential to eliminate jobs. The President clearly stated that “no one knows for certain which industries will generate the jobs of the future. But we do know we want them here in America. That’s why the third part of middle-class economics is about building the most competitive economy anywhere, the place where businesses want to locate and hire.” Advertising is one of those industries that has sustained and will continue to create jobs in the U.S.   In fact advertising is one of the major engines of the U.S. economy.  According to a recent study by IHS Global Insight, Inc., by 2017, advertising will directly and indirectly foster $6.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity (sales) and help support 22.1 million U.S. jobs.  We urge Congress and the Administration to actively oppose any tax on advertising.  The continuing support of the existing tax deduction for advertising will help continue to generate millions of jobs across the country annually.

As an industry, we look forward to working with Congress and the Administration on smart and strategic tax reform, as well as comprehensive data privacy policies. Advertising is one of the prime movers of the American economy, generating a cascade of economic activity that creates jobs nationwide. We, and our more than 640 member companies who collectively spend over $250 billion in marketing and advertising, are proud to support an industry that strengthens the U.S. economy and stimulates job growth.

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