Good News on the Stock Options Front

One of my first postings here was a (okay, long) diatribe against the mandatory expensing of stock options. We got some good news on this front on Tuesday, when the House of Representatives voted 312-111 in favor of the Stock Option Accounting Reform Act of 2003 (HR 3574), a bill which would delay and mitigate the impact of proposed regulations from the Federal Accounting Standards Board (FASB).

There were many good write ups on this, including articles in the San Francisco Chronicle ("House OKs measure to shield stock options") and USA Today ("Tech lobbyists applaud House stock-options vote").

This is, however, just the first hurdle. Senator Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Alan Greenspan, Warren Buffet, and other influencial parties have expressed opposition to interfering with the FASB regulation, and passage through the Senate, much less presidential signature into law, are far from given. But it is a big step -- an overwhelming, bi-partisan majority in the House -- in the right direction. Kudos to House Capital Markets Subcommittee Chairman Richard H. Baker (R-LA) and Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) for their leadership on this issue.

I had the opportunity to hear Congressman Baker speak during my trip to Washington this spring, and he was extremely impressive. (I'd say that regardless of his position on expensing.) He was a very bright, forthright guy -- the kind of person you're glad to see in government, the kind of person you hope will run for national office someday.

To see how your representative voted on HR 3574, you can check this roll call published by the House of Representatives.

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