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SIFMA Statement on the State of the Union Address

January 20, 2015

Washington, D.C., January 20, 2015 – SIFMA today released the following statements from Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., president and CEO, on President Obama’s State of the Union address:

“SIFMA applauds the President’s focus on cybersecurity as this is a top priority for the financial services industry, one that our members are dedicating significant resources to in order to protect the integrity of the markets and the millions who use financial services every day. Cyber attacks are increasingly a major threat to national security and the U.S. financial system. We believe a robust partnership between the private sector and government is the most effective way to mitigate cyber threats. The time is right for Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation that strengthens our nation’s cyber defenses by codifying liability protections that promote enhanced information sharing between the industry and government while balancing the need for important privacy protections for individuals.”

Tax Policy:
“The United States already has among the highest integrated capital gains and dividends rates in the developed world.   The President’s proposal would push us further out of step with our economic competitors and would worsen the existing bias for debt over equity financing.”

“Over the past six years, the Obama Administration, Congress, regulators and the financial services industry have undertaken unprecedented steps to address concerns about excessive risk in the financial sector.  The imposition of a special, sector-specific tax on the vast array of financial institutions captured by the President’s proposal under the guise of further limiting excessive risk completely ignores these constructive efforts.  Tax rules are often blunt instruments, and the tax code is not the place for a broad, new, and duplicative financial regulatory regime. ‎This $110 billion targeted tax increase on America’s most productive financial institutions could have far-reaching unintended consequences that will curtail economic growth and job creation while negatively impacting the allocation of credit and the provision of financial services to individuals and institutions.”

Trade Promotion Authority
“SIFMA supports the President’s focus on trade promotion authority, which is a critically important tool for opening new markets, leveling the playing field for financial services companies, and enhancing U.S. leadership in the global trade agenda.”

Municipal Bonds:
“We share the President’s support for new infrastructure investment and commend his QPIB proposal to provide an additional vehicle for capital creation; however, this program alone is not enough.  The current municipal bond tax exemption has helped cities and states throughout America boost their economies by funding key infrastructure projects such as new roads and bridges, hospitals and schools. Any proposal that caps or eliminates this important tax exemption would restrict the flow of much-needed capital to Main Street communities, putting important projects on hold and stifling local job creation.”
The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) brings together the shared interests of hundreds of securities firms, banks and asset managers. SIFMA’s mission is to support a strong financial industry, investor opportunity, capital formation, job creation and economic growth, while building trust and confidence in the financial markets. SIFMA, with offices in New York and Washington, D.C., is the U.S. regional member of the Global Financial Markets Association (GFMA). For more information, visit http://www.sifma.org.



January 20, 2015
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