Obama May Ease Rules for Technology Innovators to Create Jobs

The Obama administration said it will review federal regulations in an effort to reduce costs for small businesses trying to attract capital and hire workers.

The administration will work with the Securities and Exchange Commission to review rules, including those put in place by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed in 2002 to impose stricter accounting rules, Tom Kalil, senior adviser for science, technology and innovation for the White House National Economic Council, said yesterday in a conference call with reporters in Washington.

The announcement was made shortly after President Barack Obama unveiled at a joint session of Congress a plan to create jobs by injecting $447 billion into the economy through infrastructure spending, subsidies to stem teacher layoffs and cutting in half payroll taxes paid by workers and small-business owners.

Groups representing small technology companies in Silicon Valley have said federal regulations such as those imposed by Sarbanes-Oxley have hampered investments in startups. They have said they planned to ask the White House to ease the rules.

“The President’s plan offered some glimmers of hope for the technology industry, addressing some of the fundamental issues required for the industry to continue to flourish, namely trade, tax reform and talent,” Phil Bond, president and chief executive officer of TechAmerica, a Washington-based technology industry group, said in a statement.

The administration will work with the SEC to review rules put in place by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed in 2002 to impose stricter accounting rules, Tom Kalil, senior adviser for science, technology and innovation for the White House National Economic Council, said Thursday in a conference call with reporters in Washington. Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images Close

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The administration will work with the SEC to review rules put in place by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed in 2002 to impose stricter accounting rules, Tom Kalil, senior adviser for science, technology and innovation for the White House National Economic Council, said Thursday in a conference call with reporters in Washington. Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images

One-Stop Portal

Obama also ordered U.S. Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra to create within 90 days a “one-stop, online portal for small businesses to access government services,” according to a White House fact sheet. The administration also promised to “announce a plan to accelerate government payments to small contractors to help put money in their hands faster,”

“The next 90 days are critical,” Dean Garfield, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council, an industry trade group, said in a statement. “We can accomplish big, practical and politically-sensible things. However, if we miss this opportunity for economic improvement, I worry about the stagnation our industry, economy and workforce will face.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Juliann Francis in Washington at jfrancis31@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Allan Holmes at aholmes25@bloomberg.net

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