Julio Fuentes: Hispanic business owners want pro-business tax reform

With tax season upon us, many Florida families and businesses are feeling the burden of our current costly and complex tax code.

I serve as the president and CEO of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which is the only statewide economic development organization serving the needs of the Hispanic community. We have 38 chapters in Florida and we work with more than 80,000 minority-owned small businesses.

I speak to business owners and local chambers of commerce across the state every day and I consistently hear that they want to see Congress take action on pro-growth, pro-business tax reform.

Hispanic entrepreneurs and small business owners have long played an important role in the American economy, but as our role in the business community grows so does our voice. Tax reform is one issue where our voice needs to be heard.

The IRS business tax code is unfair to smaller employers and it is stifling the growth of small businesses, which are the economic engine of this country. We need a simpler, flatter and fairer tax code that doesn’t require countless hours and a team of accountants to comply with and one that promotes small business growth. If we can put more money back in the pockets of small business owners, they can reinvest in their business and create more jobs.

Over the past decade, there have been more than 4,400 changes to the tax code, which averages out to more than one per day. Tax preparation is so overwhelming for the average person that the majority of taxpayers have to pay someone to do it for them. For businesses, the administrative costs associated with preparing, filing and paying their annual federal taxes are steep. Tax reform should create an efficient, uncomplicated tax system with a sense of permanence so that individuals and business owners know what to expect year after year.

In an increasingly global economy, small business owners deserve to operate in an environment that fosters domestic investment, job growth, wage improvement and economic growth. This means setting the business tax rate at a competitive 25 percent and not raising taxes on small businesses.

We need Congress to work together and take action to address tax reform. The two key committees in Washington leading this fight are the House Ways and Means Committee, headed by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and the Senate Finance Committee, headed by U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., represent Florida on these two powerful committees.

I encourage every business owner, entrepreneur and self-employed person to reach out to your local congressional representative and our senators and urge them to work with Rep. Ryan and Sen. Hatch on a solution.

With our country still recovering from the downturn in the economy, we need tax reform that promotes job creation, innovation and competitiveness. Our current tax code is a drag on the economy and a burden on small business owners. It is critical that Florida’s senators and House members work together to pass tax reform and provide long-overdue relief to Florida families and business owners.

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

Last updated on May 17, 2016

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