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Another View -- Jeanie Forrester: Congress must fix rigged tax code

September 13. 2017 11:55PM

Our tax code is broken. The system is rigged. And for too long, as a country, we have accepted this as the status quo.

For Granite Staters who work demanding hours, the size of Uncle Sam’s cut of your paycheck should be deeply disturbing. In order to give working-class Americans a pay raise, we must prioritize comprehensive tax reform that lowers and simplifies taxes.

Ninety-six percent of employers in New Hampshire are considered small businesses. Not only is our current tax code a burden for individuals and families, but also for our employers and businesses.

Though state-level legislation has been helpful to relieve some of the stress this puts on business growth, there is still much more that can and should be done to make it easier for these employers to thrive.

A large part of the reforms must be focused on removing the special interest loopholes that are exploited by the wealthy and powerful.

Democrats — their de facto leader Bernie Sanders in particular — claim to work for the little guy, but it’s the little guy who gets the short end of the stick when Democrats refuse to work with Republicans on passing substantive tax reform.

Taxes on American businesses are 16 percentage points higher than the worldwide average and our corporate tax rate is the highest among the 35 advanced economies in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Companies are discouraged from building homegrown businesses when our corporate tax rate can’t compete. When we begin to incentivize businesses to create jobs on American soil, rather than shipping them overseas, we will see a boom of job growth.

The fact that our tax code hasn’t had a meaningful update in the last three decades is astonishing. In the last 30 years our economy has changed drastically, yet we continue to work with a system that’s playing catch up. This puts an unnecessary drag on our ability to cultivate the type of vibrant economy we need to be competitive and succeed.

Though there is overwhelming support for comprehensive tax reform, our very own Sen. Maggie Hassan has an abysmal record on the matter. While she ran her Senate campaign on the promise of slashing the middle-class tax burden, her record as governor tells a different story.

While serving as our governor, Hassan pushed for millions of dollars in tax and fee hikes that would have hit working-class families the hardest. For instance, she tried to hike the fee to register your car by 35 percent in order to fund infrastructure spending.

This type of irresponsible tax-and-spend approach is particularly burdensome to lower-income earners, and is exactly what President Trump and Congressional Republicans have vowed to combat with their new vision for tax reform.

As governor, Hassan also fought cuts in the business profits tax and business enterprise tax. She was clearly not interested in building a robust economy here in New Hampshire when she was a state senator or as governor.

Hassan, along with all her fellow Democrats, must find a way to work across the aisle and deliver meaningful reforms that our state and country need.

Jeanie Forrester chairs the New Hampshire Republican State Committee.

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