Latino Democrats and Republicans ought to agree on that much.
By Steve Cortes and Javier Palomarez
Published via The Wall Street Journal
The two of us are good friends, and as leaders in the Hispanic business community, we have a lot in common. We don’t always see eye to eye: As a Republican and a Democrat, we disagreed strongly in 2016. But we both recognize that Congress must enact meaningful tax reform.
In its present form, the tax code creates a burdensome barrier that inhibits innovators from launching new companies and prevents existing businesses from growing. Small-business owners regularly name regulations and taxes as their two biggest obstacles for growth. The Trump administration has already embarked on a policy of broad regulatory relief. Reducing the onerous tax burden is the final step to creating a pro-growth environment.
Today small business faces an almost confiscatory tax scenario, because most are taxed as individuals and face a top rate of 39.6%. Throw in state and local taxes and many Latino startups surrender over half their income to government. Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus wrote in the Hill newspaper last month, “I believe that if the Home Depot started today, overtaxation would have prevented it from achieving its current success.”
Fortunately, help is on the way. The House’s tax-reform bill drops the business tax rate to 25% and for small enterprises it lowers the rate to just 9% on the first $75,000 of income. It’s hard to overstate how consequential this kind of policy can be for Hispanic opportunity.
Hispanics are incredibly entrepreneurial. Today there are about 4.4 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S., and this year they are projected to contribute $700 billion to the American economy. These businesses are growing at twice the rate of all U.S. companies, according to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Data from American Express also show a 224% increase in Latina-owned businesses between 1997 and 2015.
Now that the House and Senate have passed tax bills that put growth first, we recommend they take two further steps. First, advance through conference quickly so that the American people can reap the benefits of economic acceleration sooner. Second, make the final bill as pro-small-business and pro-employer as possible, so that the recent economic momentum—seen in optimistic CEO surveys, rising consumer confidence, and a record-shattering stock market—only grows.
To keep the American Dream a reality, Congress needs to expedite this substantive tax reform. This catalyst can ignite success among all Americans, and particularly within our community, the fastest-growing and most industrious in the U.S. The right policies, combined with a growing economy, could create a new wave of prominent Hispanic entrepreneurs and businesses. And everyone would benefit from such empowerment.
Mr. Cortes, a Fox News contributor, served on the Trump campaign’s National Hispanic Advisory Council. Mr. Palomarez is president of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.