Marking the start of this year’s final legislative push, President Donald Trump chose the Loren Cook Company of Springfield, Mo., as the place to set his agenda. “This is our once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver real tax reform for everyday hard-working Americans,” he said. “And I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress.”
Neither do the American people. And neither do the small businesses here in Missouri and around the country that Main Street counts on to power our economy. Negotiations between the White House and Congress have been productive. Now we need a bill, and we need it to pass by Thanksgiving.
I started my own Missouri business back in 1996, and then another in 2008. America has had its economic ups and downs, and I’ve watched with pride as my fellow small business owners have done their best to make a living from their own hands and minds, while struggling with unfair and excessive tax burdens.
Because the tax code treats most small businesses as pass-through entities, they have to pay the high individual rate, which can reach 40 percent. With America’s 30 million small businesses making up about 95 percent of U.S. companies nationwide, that’s an obstacle to economic growth and financial stability. We just can’t waste the opportunity to move it aside.
According to research by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife, our small businesses are optimistic about expectations for higher revenues and strong cash flow as we head toward the all-important upcoming holiday season. But without tax relief, that good news will turn sour. Small businesses depend on healthy balance sheets to reinvest in more hires, higher wages and better facilities, tools and equipment.
Instead, they’re currently holding out for tax relief. Four in five small business owners say their top policy priority on taxes is lowering rates and increasing deductions, as the National Small Business Association reported. One in three say they have to devote two work weeks a year to doing their taxes.
The message is clear: Congress should follow the White House plan and cut the pass-through rate by more than half.
Voters concur. And if Congress can’t show results, they’ll be held to account. In new polling from America First Policies, about 80 percent agreed that Congress must pass a tax bill this year, and that it ought to include cuts that boost paychecks, local businesses and the economy as a whole. A survey by Politico and Morning Consult shows most Americans say small businesses pay too much, with three in four calling people’s tax situations unfair.
Here in Missouri, we’ve known for a long time just how much small businesses can do for the economy when they’re given the opportunity to shine. In this year’s annual report released by the Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative, Missouri was a standout. We punched well above our weight, placing in the top five of states for number of supported investments in venture capital programs. And we made the top 10 for amount of supported financing — $374 million, to be exact. It’s something to be proud of and it goes to show that, with the kinds of tax cuts Congress needs to pass, small business will be able to thrive even more independently this year and on into the future.
By passing tax relief, lawmakers in Washington can go into the new year with as much of a tailwind as the small businesses and working families tax cuts benefit most. We aren’t asking for a handout. We are simply asking to keep more of the revenue our businesses generate and to keep that flowing into the economy locally, instead of letting Washington make the decisions on where to spend it.
Mark Anthony Jones is a Kansas City business owner and Chairman of the Jackson County Republican Party in Missouri.