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Tallahassee Democrat: Moore: Tax reform will encourage innovation, empower workforce

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Ed Moore, My View

It took 30 years for the federal tax code to grow into the incomprehensible mess it is today. While policy-makers waited for a politically favorable moment to enact real reform, many tried to fix the system with patchwork policies that further bloated the tax code.

There’s no reason to wait any longer. This year, Congress has a generational opportunity to create a fair, simple and pro-growth tax code that will enrich our economy and revitalize our job market. It’s time to leave behind three decades of baggage and get serious about promoting growth for America.

Taking tax reform seriously means reducing the excessive U.S. corporate tax rate. The combined state and federal rate for corporations can go as high as 39 percent, the highest in the industrialized world. We can’t expect companies to expand their enterprise and employ more people when they lose such an incredible portion of their capital every year. Reducing the rate will empower companies to invest in the American workforce.

Sadly, however, high rates aren’t the only part of the code holding back growth. The National Taxpayers Union recently found the burden on U.S. companies to comply with such a complicated federal tax code is $233 billion in lost productivity every year.

Every dollar a company spends on tax compliance pushes American companies further away from the cutting edges of innovation and growth. In a time when intellectual property is increasingly valuable, we cannot afford to stifle innovation. It’s time to create a simple, streamlined tax code that everyone can understand.

Our current tax code’s exorbitant rates and complex rules aren’t just inconvenient —these costs are simply unsustainable for businesses looking to compete in the global marketplace. We can’t afford to drive businesses and investors to move overseas any longer. When companies leave the U.S., they take countless jobs with them. There are better options available, and Congress needs to act as soon as possible.

 According to the Tax Foundation, some options for comprehensive tax reform could save median households in Florida an average of over $4,000 in after-tax income and create almost 100,000 jobs. For middle class families, this kind of savings would be a tremendous relief.

As a person deeply concerned with helping students succeed, improving our local job market is a top priority. If we want students to build their lives here in Florida, we must make sure there is a future for them here. Passing comprehensive tax reform will help students find jobs and contribute to their communities.

Congress has a truly precious chance to create a tax code that works for everyone. We can’t afford to wait another decade to give Americans the relief they deserve. By acting now, Congress can empower U.S. businesses to compete in the global marketplace and expand employment opportunities for the middle class.

With broad support in Congress and the White House, there’s no reason sensible, robust tax reform should be delayed any longer. It’s time to let people get back to work rebuilding the American dream.

Ed Moore is the President of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida.

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