By Brett Milam
The Clermont Chamber of Commerce held its first legislative luncheon of the year with Ben Taylor, of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to discuss the new tax bill and what it means for the businesses in the area.
Taylor said tax reform was the business community’s number one priority last year and an important step. Partly because the business community needed the tax reform to be internationally competitive, he said, adding that the tax system had hamstrung businesses.
“But also getting relief to the middle class,” Taylor said. “We’re starting to see wage growth and that’s a good thing.”
There’s a lot of “cooks in the kitchen” that would tell you maybe we could have gotten a bipartisan deal, Taylor said, but we had to go through this arcane process in the Senate called reconciliation.
The overall bill reduces top pass through tax rate to 37 percent, moves the to a territorial tax system (ending worldwide system that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said encouraged companies to go overseas) and repeals the corporate alternative tax.
Most employees should have seen more monies in their paycheck starting this month, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Taylor puts the number at 80 percent of tax filers will see relief, with 8 percent who will see an increase.
“That’s how it works in tax reform, right,” Taylor said. “There’s winners and losers. The 80 percent are winners and we think from a macroeconomic perspective overall are winners. The eight percent of the top tier will benefit from the economy picking up. There are some from a static level who will pay more and that’s how we partially pay for tax reform.”
Overall, the tax reform bill should cost $1.5 trillion, Taylor said, adding, but we’re also already beginning to see higher wages and businesses reinvesting.
Taylor said he’s also “cautiously optimistic” that something is going to happen on the DACA side. He had mentioned DACA earlier, as an aside, in his remarks.
“Did not include Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), about 780,000 kids, that came over with their parents through no fault of their own, who are kind of stuck here after they’ve came forward in a good faith effort and identified themselves and they’re working, they’re in school, they’re in the military, so what is the fate of those kids?” Taylor said, noting the continuing resolution for this fiscal year (and lasts through the next two years) didn’t include DACA fixes.
Deadline to address DACA is March 5.
The U.S. Chamber supports extending work protections for DACA recipients because those people are working for their members, Taylor said.
“I think engaging in trade war is probably harmful,” Taylor said, when asked by The Sun about reports from The New York Times and others that President Trump is proposing stiff penalties and rising tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
There’s also ways to modernize NAFTA without “throwing it out,” Taylor said.
“Our competitors are negotiating these agreements without us,” he added. “Our competitors are forging ahead and its market access that our employees will not have access to at those preferred rates.”