, Salem, MA

Congress 2012

June 18, 2012

Tierney, Tisei differ on medical device tax


The Salem News —

“Initially, it’s not going to affect a company like us that is still in product development,” Clibourn said, “but looking ahead, it’s really going to be an impediment. It’s really disappointing because we’re launching a new product. We’re a little company with no revenue and operating at a net loss for a period of time, and this makes life more difficult.”

Calls to local Analogic in Peabody and Abiomed Inc. in Danvers, two of the area’s largest medical device firms, were not returned Friday.

Richard Tisei, Tierney’s Republican opponent in the upcoming election, jumped at the chance to use Tierney’s vote to paint a contrast between the candidates.

“At a time when the economy is not creating any new jobs, one of the few bright spots is the medical device industry,” Tisei said in an interview. “Now we’ll probably see layoffs as we go along. You’d expect the congressman in this district to fight for those jobs and not be an ideologue.”

Tisei said getting the tax repealed would be “one of my top priorities as a congressman.”

Tierney said he would be willing to repeal the tax if Republicans would agree to a different method for making up the lost revenue, such as closing unnecessary tax subsidies.

Paul Van de Water, a fellow at the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, argues that the industry’s worries “are a vast exaggeration.”

Van de Water, who has a doctorate in economics from MIT, said the 2.3 percent tax is too small to have much of an impact on jobs or demand.

“Demand for medical devices is relatively inelastic, so a big chunk of the excise tax will be passed forward to the consumers and will not affect the net revenue of the companies very much,” Van de Water said.

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Congress 2012

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