By Rep. Claudia Tenney
American workers, farmers and small business owners need a level playing field. They need the government off their backs and out of their wallets. They need an economy that works for them by creating opportunity for growth, innovation and success.
However, this is far from what they have. Across our region and throughout the country, hardworking families in rural, Rust Belt communities are falling behind as they see their paychecks stagnate, their jobs shipped overseas and their taxes skyrocket.
While the well-connected receive bailouts and kickbacks, small businesses see nothing but tax hikes and increased costs. Against this backdrop, it is harder than ever for Americans to find good-paying jobs that match their skills and for small businesses to grow and adapt to an ever-changing economy.
Meanwhile, in Washington and Albany, it’s a different story. The money is flowing and politicians are hard at work doling out tax breaks to their friends and donors, singlehandedly undoing the vibrancy of our economy by handpicking winners and losers. This status quo may benefit the wealthy and well-connected, but the effects of this destructive crony capitalism have been stagnation and frustration.
In New York, taxpayers are tired of paying among the highest taxes in the nation, only to see their hard-earned tax dollars squandered on corporate welfare schemes to lure in big businesses that never come. Last year alone, the Empire State wasted nearly $8 billion on “economic development” programs like Start-Up NY, with little to show in return. It’s exactly this type of wasteful spending, built upon the foundation of a tax code that inherently disadvantages the middle class, which has made our beautiful state unaffordable for many, driving people and businesses away in record numbers.
As a small business owner, I have seen firsthand how our tax code discourages American businesses from growing and hiring, especially our small businesses. Worse yet, our tax code is riddled with special interest loopholes that benefit the well-off at the expense of hardworking New Yorkers.
We cannot afford to continue down this unsustainable path. It’s time to respect the American taxpayers enough to put their needs first. That’s why House Republicans have a plan to reform the tax code, restore prosperity and renew the promise of the American Dream for all.
First, simplifying our tax code is key to creating jobs, leveling the playing field for American businesses and encouraging economic growth. We will reduce the burden of excessive paperwork and streamline reporting requirements, making filing taxes as easy as filing out a postcard. Simplifying the tax code will provide critical relief for people at all income levels, so every taxpayer has a fair shot.
Next, to encourage growth for small businesses (our largest job creators), we will reduce the tax rate on small businesses operating as sole proprietorships or pass-through entities from 45 percent to the 25 percent bracket. Currently, 95 percent of all American businesses operate in these ways.
Our tax reform plan will create an estimated 1.7 million new jobs and, according to a study conducted by the bipartisan Tax Foundation, middle-income families are expected to see nearly $5,000 more in their wallets each year. With an estimated nine percent long-term growth rate, this plan will build a stronger, fairer economy for all.
From day one, I have fought against the elimination of the federal deduction for state and local taxes (SALT), and will work to ensure the deduction is included in the final bill. Currently, 30 percent of taxpayers nationwide, and 62,530 in the 22nd District, claim this deduction making it one of the most widely used in the country. Until New York completely overhauls its tax code, eliminating the SALT deduction will strip primarily middle- and low-income New Yorkers of their only real tax relief. Additionally, to provide the first significant relief for Upstate property taxpayers in a generation, I also championed the Collins-Faso amendment.
The last president to tackle major tax reform, Ronald Reagan, wisely said, “You can’t be for big government, big taxes, and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy.” It’s time to stand up for the little guy and put the taxpayers first. Now is our chance to deliver real results, reform the tax code and give everyone a fair shot to achieve the American Dream. Hardworking Americans deserve nothing less.