March 07, 2017


CORAL GABLES, FL —U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue today outlined the business community’s vision for pro-growth tax reform at the organization’s Spring Board of Directors meeting. The U.S. Chamber played an instrumental role in the 1986 tax reform legislation, and plans to be heavily engaged in the coming effort.

“We’ve got a once-in-a-generation chance to do tax reform, and if we do it right, it can be the single most important step our leaders take to drive economic growth,” said Donohue. “But the process of overhauling our tax code is as complicated and controversial as the tax code itself—which is why it hasn’t happened since 1986. As the debate unfolds, we’re going to urge lawmakers to ensure that reform is designed to maximize growth.”

In his remarks to the U.S. Chamber’s Board of Directors, Donohue outlined the key components for comprehensive reform:

  • Lowering tax rates for all businesses.
  • Adopting an internationally competitive territorial system—no more taxing U.S. businesses twice, once abroad and once here, on their overseas earnings.
  • Eliminate the bias against business investment in the depreciation system.
  • Permanency, simplicity, and clarity.
  • Ensuring the marketplace—not the government—picks the winners and losers.

“We’re going to keep reminding everyone that pro-growth reform will benefit businesses and citizens across America,” Donohue continued. “The Chamber can play a very practical role in helping Congress and the administration develop the new tax system and then writing transition rules that will help businesses move from the old tax system to the new.”

In 1986, the Chamber worked closely with Congress and the Treasury Department with the technical aspects of drafting tax reform and in writing the transition rules—that helped businesses move to the new system with fewer costs and less disruption. Donohue explained that the package wasn’t perfect, but the U.S. Chamber supported and helped move the final compromise because it achieved the ultimate goal of significantly lowering marginal tax rates.

“This time around, there are going to be some provisions that divide our members. But if tax reform is pro-growth—and we think it will be—we’re going to champion it. Business is going to have a seat at the table. Because if we don’t—guess what? We’re on the menu,” Donohue concluded.

The Chamber’s principles for tax reform can be viewed here.