Thomas J. Donohue Thomas J. Donohue
Advisor and Former Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


August 14, 2017


[This is part of an ongoing series entitled “The Case for Tax Reform,” which examines the importance of reforming the outdated tax code, and how achieving that goal will advance economic growth, jobs, and prosperity.]

Members of Congress are back in their home states for August, but the U.S. Chamber of Commerceisn’t taking any breaks. We’re busy preparing for the upcoming battle to pass pro-growth tax reform. We’re activating our extensive grassroots and small business network to build support from the ground up, even as we ramp up our lobbying, policy, and communications efforts in Washington. Our message is simple: Tax reform cannot wait.

Before the August recess, key congressional leaders and administration officialsreleased their principles for reform, signaling a unified approach and seeding the field for the upcoming legislative process. Many of the priorities outlined were consistent with the principles the Chamber shared with top tax leaders last month.

As we said then, among our top priorities is to lower rates for all businesses, including the many small businesses that file on the individual side of the tax code. Further, we must simplify rules to limit compliance costs, increase certainty so that businesses can plan for the future, and move as far as possible toward allowing all businesses to expense capital purchases. We also want to see an internationally competitive system that eliminates the double taxation companies now face when they earn profits abroad.

True reform is going to require compromise and trade-offs. The Chamber has been up front that any viable tax reform plan will create tensions in the business community, but we will judge any plan on one simple test: Will it spur economic growth? And we will encourage members of Congress—all of whom have their own pet tax issues—to judge legislation on the same basis.

Tax reform is too critical to become another casualty of Washington dysfunction or competing interests. Everyone involved acknowledges that our tax code is outdated and ripe for reform—but that doesn’t mean the effort will be easy. It will be tough to write the legislation, tough to negotiate it, and tough for businesses to transition to the new system—which is why the Chamber has made it clear that effective transition rules must be written to provide adequate time to adjust.

Pro-growth tax reform is the most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to sparking a new wave of wage growth and job creation. Its significance cannot be overstated. To get tax reform over the finish line, all Americans must get involved—businesses, government leaders, voters, and grassroots organizations. Let’s roll up our sleeves and commit to finish the job by the end of 2017. The economy will thank us for many years to come.

About the authors

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue is advisor and former chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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