Jim Wheeler: Congress, pass a tax cut (opinion)
December 14, 2017
Christmas is just around the corner. For small businesses, it is officially the start of the make-or-break holiday shopping season.
And this year, passing a tax bill would give small business owners much to be thankful for.
Lawmakers are running low on time to pass a new 25-percent tax rate for small businesses — one of the largest tax cuts in generations.
As a small business owner and lawmaker at the state level, my message to Washington is simple: Get the job done. Small business deserves it, voters want it and the economy needs it.
Without small businesses, not a single state would have a viable economy. Nearly 96 percent of Nevada's firms are small ones. They employ over 40 percent of the private sector workforce. These figures aren't outliers. In many states, the employment share is closer to 50 percent.
Here in Nevada, we've done right by small business, growing our economy in the process by leaving income and capital gains taxes out of the mix for individuals and businesses alike. That's one reason we boast a top-five state tax system for small businesses and entrepreneurs, according to the latest survey by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.
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Of course, I'm rooting for a small business tax cut, and not for selfish reasons. I serve as the minority leader in the Nevada Assembly, where it is my duty to serve and represent the professional interests of Nevada small businesses and residents alike.
I help people at their most vulnerable. Few have cash to burn. Many have daunting obligations, costs and debts. Like all small businesses, we honor our customers' hard-earned, carefully spent dollars. And we honor their patronage as we grow our business to serve them even better.
But as much as Nevada lawmakers and business owners have done, we can't do it all. The federal government's outdated, burdensome tax code can take up to 40 percent of a small business's revenue off the table. When typical state and local taxes are factored in, nearly half of all income can go off to the tax man instead of being used to add jobs, boost paychecks, and expand facilities — the kind of reinvestment a majority of small business owners say they'd use their tax savings for.
The feds call this "pass-through" taxation, and it only spares about 5 percent of all businesses. For the other 95 percent, it's a deadweight dragging down growth, holding back communities, and hampering the U.S. economy.
They've endured this counterproductive system for generations, waiting for lawmakers to let them put what their customers spend back into their business.
Congress has an obligation to fix this mess. The American people are growing impatient. Polls show Republicans want their party's lawmakers to follow the lead of President Trump, who has been steadfast in pushing for small business tax relief. Democrats, meanwhile, want their representatives to follow the GOP's lead and prioritize bipartisan tax relief that grows the economy and grows jobs.
A majority of voters want our federal tax code redone. They prefer small business tax cuts even over tax cuts for their own families.
All Congress has to do is put two and two together and treat small business right in Washington.
Cutting small business taxes will bless millions of Americans with a festive holiday season.
Assemblyman Jim Wheeler represents Nevada's 39th District.
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