MCLEAN, VA - As the U.S. manufacturing industry has been one of the hardest hit by job losses, The Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT) is pleased with the steps proposed by President Obama to create jobs and make manufacturing strong again. Now it is up to Congress to take the next step.

“Several of the outlined proposals are initiatives that AMT has been strongly advocating,” AMT President Douglas K. Woods says. “They are steps that can clearly help spur capital investments, which is sorely needed at the moment.”

AMT urges Congress to take the next step in acting on these provisions to help this vital industry, as well as other small businesses. These are the businesses that will be key to economic recovery, job growth and moving the nation forward into a stronger future.

Specifically, Woods pointed to two provisions important to U.S. manufacturing technology providers: a one-year extension of enhanced Section 179 expensing for small businesses, and a one-year extension of the 50% bonus depreciation incentive for new capital equipment purchases. Both were initially enacted in Congress’ 2008 stimulus bill, and extended through 2009 under the Recovery Act. President Obama’s proposals would extend them for another year, through 2010 – a move AMT has urged.

The Section 179 expensing allows small businesses to immediately expense up to $250,000 of qualified equipment and other business investments. The bonus depreciation tax incentive also allows businesses to immediately depreciate fully 50% of the costs of capital expenditures.

“It is gratifying to see the President addressing some of the key issues AMT has been aggressively advocating for this past year,” says Woods. “It is especially satisfying to hear him specifically addressing small business needs and in particular recognizing the need to provide tax cuts and incentives, as well as addressing the need to make credit more accessible to small businesses.”

“The manufacturing technology industry is the foundation for all manufacturing, the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. It has also been one of the hardest hit sectors within manufacturing. Orders for manufacturing technology are off 66% for the first 10 months of 2009. Additionally, capacity utilization bottomed out at 65.1% in June, the lowest level recorded since tracking began in 1948 and only the second time in history that the number has been below 70%. Without ongoing innovations in this field, factories could not be modernized, new sources of energy could not be developed and advanced technology vehicles could not be produced. Most importantly, the industry is also significant to protecting national security.

“One of the best programs for our members is the enhanced expensing provisions and the bonus depreciation incentives,” Woods says. “They have been very effective in the past and will be a much-needed boost for 2010.”

AMT, founded in 1902 as the National Machine Tool Builders' Association, supports and promotes the U.S. manufacturing technology industry. The association provides U.S. builders of manufacturing systems with the latest information on technical developments, trade and marketing opportunities, and economic issues. It also gathers and disseminates information about world markets, promotes its members' products in those markets, and acts as a representative on manufacturing technology matters to governments and trade organizations throughout the world. For more information,