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Sun Sentinel: Clock is ticking on tax reform | Opinion

Thursday, July 20, 2017

By Julio Fuentes

We are more than halfway through 2017 and unfortunately progress in Washington, D.C., continues to be stagnant. Health care reform is a critical priority, but we cannot allow political disagreements on policy changes to hold up reforming our 30-year-old tax code.

As a Steering Committee member for the Main Street Growth and Opportunity Coalition in Florida, I have been able to speak to various elected officials about this topic. As president and CEO of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, I fight for tax reform on behalf of our 80,000 minority-owned businesses. Our members want to see bold tax reform passed this year to regain and rejuvenate economic prosperity. We are proud to support members of Congress in their efforts to pass a pro-growth tax plan as soon as possible.

Last week, the Congressional Ways and Means Committee listened to small business owners from around the country express the importance of passing tax reform. They all expressed the potential to grow, invest and create jobs with bold tax reform.

Looking at the economic makeup of America, it is easy to see why tax reform is so vital to continued growth. Our country’s small businesses create two out of three new jobs and produce nearly half of our Gross Domestic Product. Here in Florida, small businesses make up 98.8 percent of all businesses and employ nearly half of all Floridians. Small businesses are already our state’s economic engine, so imagine the continued positive impact these companies could have if they are given more opportunities to succeed through a less complex and more transparent tax code.

A study completed by The Tax Foundation paints a picture of what tax reform would look like in Florida. The results showed a median household income increase by $4,248 and new job creation increase by 97,220. Hardworking Floridians deserve the opportunity to have more disposable income for their families and increased employment prospects.

We need a fair and simplified tax code that encourages growth and competition. Congressman Carlos Curbelo and colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee have our support to pass bold tax reform and we strongly encourage the continued momentum to do so. Businesses throughout Florida should encourage their congressional members to support bold tax reform today.

Julio Fuentes is president and CEO of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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