(Randi Thompson) – As the holidays wind down, our congressional leaders are traveling back to Washington to take on some big issues — or at least so they say:
– Updating the Federal Tax Code.
– Repealing and replacing ObamaCare.
– Restructuring social security. Comprehensive immigration reform.
These are huge issues, and Congress has got to take them on. For too long, Congress has kicked the can down the road. With Republicans in control of the White House and Congress, I hope the new saying in D.C. is: “The Can Stops Here.”
So, I’m using this as an open letter to our congressmen and senators to please show some political will in 2017 and do something on any of these issues!
I’m limited by space, so I’ll tackle just a few issues here.
First, let’s talk tax reform.
It is critical that Congress simplify the tax code. Small business creates 60 percent of net new jobs, yet the cost to comply with taxes runs about 67 percent higher for small businesses than larger companies. So please, simplify the tax code so that it isn’t such an administrative weight on businesses, and close the loopholes that allow big corporations to pay very little. I’m sure a lot of tax attorneys and CPA’s aren’t happy with that idea, but just think about being able to help companies plan for growth instead of helping them evade taxes!
Next, lower the corporate tax rate. At 39 percent, the U.S. corporate tax rate is one of the highest in the industrial world and also creates a situation of double taxation for international companies that generate income abroad. Too many companies chose to keep income from foreign sales offshore, instead of bringing it back here to expand U.S. operations and hire Americans. History has shown when the U.S. reduces the tax burden on corporations and individuals, we have stimulated the economy and created jobs.
Second, let’s talk health care reform. Congressional leaders have promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). There are some good things that should stay in the law, such as allowing children to stay on their parents’ policy until they are adults, as we see that too many young people will chose buying beer over health insurance. We also need to allow people with “pre-existing” conditions to get coverage. But the reality is the ACA has not worked as promised. Insurance costs have increased, health care costs have not decreased, nor have emergency room visits — contrary to a goal of the ACA that predicted a decline in ER traffic as more people gained access to doctors and other healthcare providers. It is critical that Congress reinstate Medicare and Medicaid hospital funding or else hospitals and clinics around the state will be forced to limit services, which will only cost us all more in the long run.
Congress can accomplish a lot in the next two years, if they have the political courage to tackle these big issues. Please, contact your congressman and senators, and tell them to stop kicking the can.
Randi Thompson is a political and public relations consultant. Reach her at Randi@RandiThompson.com .