[IMGCAP(1)]Barack Obama and Mitt Romney favor sharply different policies on many of the major issues facing our country, particularly income taxes. It is striking, then, when the two candidates do actually agree. One area where the contestants for the White House largely see eye to eye is fostering innovation by expanding the federal research and development tax credit, and making it permanent.

A Department of the Treasury report, The President’s Framework For Business Tax Reform, calls for Congress to “expand, simplify and make permanent” the R&D Tax Credit. Believe In America: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth also seeks to strengthen and make the credit permanent, observing that “economies succeed” when there are “high levels of research-and-development spending.” With two opposing sides finding such common ground, what the R&D credit means for business warrants closer examination.

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