Corporate tax reform plan is step in right direction

By DAVID WILLIAMS, UPI Outside View Commentator   |   Feb. 28, 2014 at 12:03 AM   |   Comments

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- After years of waiting, U.S. taxpayers, workers and businesses should be encouraged by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp's proposal to overhaul the outdated U.S. corporate tax code.

Potentially freeing the U.S. economy from a three-decade-long stranglehold on growth and prosperity, the proposal by Camp, R-Mich., to simplify the U.S. corporate tax rate and lower it to an internationally competitive level is a crucial step in rebooting the United States' growth engine and getting more Americans back to work.

Congress cannot afford to let this opportunity pass by and should seize on Camp's proposal to enact meaningful bipartisan legislation that will greatly benefit the U.S. economy and workforce.

Even if the tax package that was released isn't perfect, it provides an excellent starting point, especially for corporate tax reform.

In the three decades since U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act of 1986, The United States' international competitors have scrambled to lower their corporate rates and entice businesses to relocate to their shores.

The success of this tactic is evident with such phenomena as Ireland's "Celtic Tiger," an explosion of growth that followed the enactment of pro-business tax policies in Ireland.

When Japan lowered its corporate tax rate in 2012, the United States was left with the ignominious distinction of having the highest corporate tax rate in the world, a 35 percent level that was a full 10 points higher than the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average.

Camp's proposal is crucial for getting the United States in line with international trends and entrenching this country as the most attractive place in the world in which to do business.

Although regulators have tried to impede companies from moving to sunnier tax climates, companies are in the business to make money and will always find a way to locate themselves in places that make it easy for them to do business. Because the tax situation in the United States compares so negatively with international competitors, existing firms will find a way to relocate, and new firms won't consider the United States their top location when they incorporate.

This not only deprives the government of tax revenue but leaves the United States in the cold with the cutting-edge companies that will drive innovation and growth in the 21st century.

The Camp proposal will help stop the bleeding, reinforcing this country as the best place for new companies to locate and will start the process of luring companies that have departed for fairer shores back into the fold of the U.S. economy.

With so much economic growth and so many jobs on the line, tax reform is an issue Congress and the White House cannot afford to ignore any longer. Although there is some controversy about the exact expenditures that a new corporate tax package should cut, Camp's proposal is the necessary first step for starting a real legislative debate.

Congress needs to act because real livelihoods are on the line. Every day, the United States loses jobs and growth due to its unnecessarily high corporate tax rate. Legislators have danced around this problem for three decades but the impact on the U.S. economy has become so acute that it requires action, and soon.

The United States' prosperity depends on it.

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(David Williams is president of the Taxpayer Protection Alliance.)

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(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)

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