Sean Hackbarth Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


May 18, 2017


Tax reform took an important step.

The House Ways and Means Committee held its first hearing this year on comprehensive tax reform.

A letter from Neil Bradley, senior vice president and Chief Policy Officer at the U.S. Chamber, noted how important the committee’s work is: “Comprehensive tax reform represents the single greatest opportunity … accelerate growth in the near term and the long run.”

The committee heard from business leaders the importance tax reform plays into generating faster economic growth that creates jobs.

“If we’re serious about robust growth, then we must get serious about jump-starting private sector investment,” said John Stephens, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for AT&T. “And the best way to do that is to fix our broken, last-century corporate tax code. Achieving competitive corporate tax rates is likely the most effective catalyst available to our public policy makers to increase capital investment and create jobs”

Comprehensive reform will also help American manufacturers’ global competitiveness. “With a combined (federal and state) top statutory corporate tax rate that could exceed 39 percent, manufacturers in the United States face the highest corporate statutory tax rate among the 35 industrialized nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), far higher than the average OECD statutory tax rate of 23.75 percent,” said David Farr, Chairman and CEO of Emerson.

As for small business, they would benefit from reduced tax code complexity. “Subchapter S and LLC businesses, both large and small, report taxes on the owner’s or member’s personal income taxes and the calculations are excessively complicated,” said Zachary Mottl of Illinois’ Atlas Tool Works.

[Here are other small business owners explaining why we need tax reform.]

Before the hearing, Caroline Harris, chief tax counsel and vice president of tax policy at U.S. Chamber of Commerce, chatted with Bloomberg, about what’s needed for comprehensive tax reform.

“First and foremost, pro-growth is what we’re looking for. Secondly, you have to be permanent. Businesses need certainty,” said Harris. “They need to know what the tax code looks like to make the proper investment decisions.”

Let’s sum up what a positive effects tax reform would have on jobs and growth by quoting a recent op-ed from Maxine Turner, founder of Salt Lake City’s Cuisine Unlimited Catering & Special Events and the current chairwoman of the U.S. Chamber Small Business Council: “New opportunities for entrepreneurs, beginning with comprehensive tax reform, would result in an economic vigor that could benefit every family across this country.”

About the authors

Sean Hackbarth

Sean Hackbarth

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.

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