Carole Jean Jordan: Florida small businesses rally for tax reform

 Tuesday was Tax Day and it marked the end of one of the most stressful times of the year for small business owners and individuals alike.

The task of filing taxes has become a daunting and often expensive one. I encourage lawmakers and regular citizens to stop by one of their favorite local stores and ask a small-business owner if their taxes are an impediment to growth and success.  If they’re like me, they will reply with a hearty “yes!” because business taxes are too high and too complicated.

For the economy to rebound, we need to make it easier for businesses to function and grow, not harder. To do that, small businesses need comprehensive tax reform to ease their administrative burdens, and lower taxes so they can be more competitive and put more money back into their companies and employees.

That’s why I’ve joined my fellow small-business owners and community leaders at the Main Street Growth & Opportunity Coalition – Florida.  Our goal is to encourage Congress to pass meaningful tax reform this year, as well as work toward fixing our broken trade and immigration systems, to help promote robust growth and job creation.

American businesses pay the highest corporate tax rate in the world.  A punishingly high tax rate makes it harder for small businesses to remain competitive in a world where many of our rivals already have much lower costs associated with labor and materials.

Lowering business taxes would put more money in the pockets of hardworking small-business owners so they could reinvest in their business and in the things that grow our economy like wage increases, new hires, expansions and new ventures.

We also need to simplify the tax code and make it easier for businesses to figure, file and pay their annual federal taxes. This is not news to anyone old enough to pay taxes. Tax preparation is so overwhelming that more than half of individual taxpayers and nearly three-quarters of unincorporated businesses now pay someone to do it for them.

Many others buy tax preparation software. The system is a mess. There have been about 4,680 changes to the tax code since 2001 — an average of more than one a day. Taxpayers are spending even more of their money just to ensure they are in compliance.

If my family business had more money freed up, it would go toward my business and would benefit my community.

It’s time for Congress to act on tax reform and other issues that are important to small businesses, such as immigration and trade.

On trade, we need Congressional action now on Trade Promotion Authority, which will streamline the process for approving new trade deals with Europe and Asia, opening those markets to our exports.

Congress also needs to find a better way to handle our nation’s immigration problems.  Regardless of which side you are on in the immigration debate, we can all agree that the system is utterly broken. What this means for businesses is uncertainty in the employment marketplace, which holds us back from making new hires and investing in new enterprises.

Small businesses are coming together — here in Florida and across the country — to fight for job-creating, pro-growth policies. We encourage Congress to start by lowering taxes and simplifying the tax code for small businesses.

Carole Jean Jordan has owned a successful small family business in Vero Beach for more than 40 years; she also serves as the Indian River County Tax Collector. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

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