Executives from Intel, AMD and other tech companies were in Washington today, lobbying against policy changes related to taxes on overseas profits and calling for more visas to bring skilled workers to the U.S., according to a Reuters report. President Obama pledged last month to end tax breaks for companies that "ship our jobs overseas."
Reuters notes that, in 1998, 35 percent of semiconductors sold were made in the United States, a figure that is now closer to 15-20 percent.
Executives, including Intel Chairman Craig Barrett and AMD Chairman Hector Ruiz, said higher taxes will cost jobs and decrease competitiveness. It's not like Intel will pack up and leave the U.S., Barrett told reporters, but "you are adding a disincentive with this sort of tax policy."
The execs also took issue with foreign-born students who are forced to return to their home countries after they're educated in the U.S. because their visas expired. The H1-B Visa issue should not be lumped into the greater efforts to control illegal immigration, they said.
John Daane, chairman and chief executive of Altera Corp, said: "We're not arguing for everybody. We're arguing for graduate students."
Intel and AMD were among companies that announced layoffs in January. Intel said in late January, following a horrible fourth-quarter earnings report, that it planned to reduce its workforce by 5,000-6,000 as it revamps its manufacturing operations. AMD said in January it was eliminating 1,100 jobs and implementing salary cuts.
Also see: Report: Tech layoffs skyrocket in 2008; not looking much better for '09