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TC Palm: Ed Moore: Federal reforms necessary to help college graduates get quality jobs

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

By Ed Moore

A great thing about my job is I spend time working with Florida’s higher education institutions. Our colleges and universities create graduates and spur economic vitality.

Florida has an excellent balance of both private and public institutions working in service for the people of Florida. Higher education is the springboard for many Floridians to success.

Unfortunately, graduates today are faced with fewer opportunities for employment than they used to be. Although Florida’s economy has been steadily improving, our national economic recovery just hasn’t responded as quickly as needed for many graduates.

This makes keeping our Florida graduates in the state even easier and helps attract smart young people from around the nation to Florida.

To maintain the momentum we have seen recently in Florida, we need Washington to implement the kinds of fiscal restraints and economic growth policies we have seen in Florida over the past two decades. Congress needs to enact a pro-growth reform agenda that will expand the national economy and help the private markets create jobs for the next generation of workers and entrepreneurs.

Many reforms in D.C. are necessary to stimulate the kind of growth our graduates need. One of Congress’ biggest priorities should be reforming our complicated tax system.

Small business growth and expansion is a critical component of the economy and year after year this sector comprises our biggest job creators. Those smaller engines of growth are being hammered by federal business taxes — the highest taxes of their kind in the industrialized world.

Larger corporations are also hit with a tax burden of 35 percent. Compare this to Canada at 26.5 percent, Mexico at 30 percent, and China and Brazil at 25 percent. Businesses also shoulder an enormous administrative burden by having to wade through the complexity of the tax code to properly prepare their taxes.

Add that to the already-high cost of the taxes themselves, and the overhead for small businesses quickly becomes burdensome.

Business owners need comprehensive tax reform that both lowers the rate and simplifies the code. By doing so, lawmakers could significantly increase the level of financial resources companies have to reinvest in their business and communities. More money in the pockets of small business owners means more money to use for expansion and job growth — providing our next generation of workers with more opportunities for employment.

But taxes aren’t the only thing that needs reform. Our broken immigration system needs fixing now. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, has worked hard on both sides of the aisle to effect a working reform agenda. His strong voice needs to be heeded and reforms need to be made in many areas.

The debate over these reforms needs to transcend the border security issues so that it includes our entire visa system, worker preference system, transitions from student visas to work visa programs, and much more. A fractured, ineffective system cannot be allowed to impede economic growth.

Our businesses struggle to deal with an uncertain employment environment regarding immigration. No matter which side of the issue you are on, we can all agree — especially in an immigrant-heavy state like Florida — that a predictable set of rules is preferable to the mishmash our businesses currently face.

Few things in life are more rewarding than earning your degree and getting your first real job out of college. It is time for Congress to refocus on economic growth, so graduates for years to come have something more to look forward to upon graduation.

Florida can lead the nation in economic growth but to reach its full potential we must have the strong winds of federal reforms, not the burden of federal inaction, at our back.

Ed Moore is the president of the Florida Independent Colleges and Universities. Contact him at Column courtesy of

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