Making our tax code great again

Posted on August 29, 2017 09:18 am CDT

Springfield News-Leader

By- Billy Long

On June 16, 2015, President Trump announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency. I knew from day one that President Trump was the real deal and was a man who understood the American people and how to put America first. This was a sentiment that had been sorely missed in the White House for the past eight years.

Throughout the campaign, I had the opportunity to join President Trump on the campaign trail and hear him speak on a variety of issues, including tax reform. I’ll always remember people’s reactions. They were excited and relieved. For the first time in several years these Americans had someone they could count on, someone in charge that had their back.

Many people refer to states like Missouri as fly-over country, but President Trump sees this part of America as much more than that. He sees what I see — a place where folks work hard and earn what they have. However, too many Missourians, and millions across the United States, continue to struggle due to overregulation and high taxes. My hometown of Springfield represents this contrast and is the perfect place for the President to visit and speak on tax reform.

In many respects, Missouri has a thriving business sector. Our state is home to over 500,000 small businesses employing over 1.1 million workers, which is nearly half of Missouri’s private sector workforce. Of the businesses in the state, 97.5 percent are small businesses. Yet, overregulation has put unnecessary burdens on businesses, costing Missourians jobs and wages. In fact, small businesses are taxed at rates as high as 44.6 percent. These are the job creators we all rely upon, yet they are far too often treated as just a source of government revenue.

It’s time to lower tax rates, get rid of all the bureaucratic red tape and give the American people and businesses a long overdue break. It has been over 30 years since comprehensive tax reform has been passed. Today’s tax code is over 2 million words long and is so complicated that 90 percent of Americans either use software or hire professional accountants to do their taxes. That’s unacceptable and the American people deserve better. I have been working hard with President Trump and my Congressional colleagues to put forth a pro-growth tax reform bill that will benefit all individuals and small businesses by lowering tax rates, consolidating tax brackets and closing loopholes for special interest groups.

According to an analysis done by the Tax Foundation, the House Republican’s blueprint for tax reform would create over 1.5 million full-time jobs and increase the after-tax median household income by almost $5,000. For Missouri specifically, over 33,000 full-time jobs would be added and the after tax median household income would increase by over $5,000.

Now we all know the tired liberal argument — cutting the tax rate on businesses only helps the wealthy. The fact is that with 70 percent of a business’ income used to pay employee wages, cutting taxes would benefit workers as well. However, with so many regulations impeding small businesses, it’s hard for that money to make its way to the employees. Thankfully, President Trump understands this and has spent the last eight months overturning rules and cutting regulations, and comprehensive tax reform is another necessary step in the right direction to grow the American economy and to keep the American dream in reach for all.

Our job in Washington isn’t to make Missourians’ lives harder, it’s to make them easier and to stay out of the way of the real job creators. Our broken tax code obviously does not accomplish that and needs to be improved.

Billy Long, the congressional representative from Missouri's 7th District, contributes a regular opinion piece.

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