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Software firms assemble for political pull

A high-tech lobbying group comprising major software companies launches to influence federal policies that affect the industry's bottom line.

A high-tech lobbying group comprising major software companies launched today to influence federal policies that affect the industry's bottom line.

The Software Finance and Tax Executives Council (SoFTEC) is made up of 24 leading high-tech firms including Microsoft, Intuit, Oracle, Adobe, and Autodesk. The trade association will lobby on issues concerning fiscal policy that affect the software industry.

"In Washington, there is a crowded field of trade associations all purporting to represent the entire high-tech landscape," Mark Nebergall, president of SoFTEC, said in a statement. "SoFTEC has a laser focus. We are a unique resource to the software industry when it comes to issues affecting finance and tax policy."

For example, SoFTEC will focus on policies regarding Internet taxation issues, the federal research and development tax credit, actions of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, and employee stock purchase plans.

"Before SoFTEC, coordinating our efforts was laborious and reduced our efficacy on Capitol Hill," Karen Kenney, J.D. Edwards Director of Tax Services, said in a statement.

Trade organizations such as the Software & Information Industry Association and the Business Software Alliance already tackle similar issues but have a broader agenda that includes securing more funding for education and changing the White House's encryption export policy.

Groups like the bipartisan Technology Network (TechNet), on the other hand, have lobbied for a permanent research and development tax credit for high-tech companies. TechNet also arranges meetings between politicians and Silicon Valley executives and holds fund-raisers for prominent candidates.