Assemblyman Jim Wheeler: Tax reform can spur job growth |

Assemblyman Jim Wheeler: Tax reform can spur job growth

Jim Wheeler

I, like many of my conservative Republican colleagues in the Legislature, am frustrated a Republican-controlled legislature passed the biggest tax increase in history last session. As frustrated as we are, lamenting won’t change the reality of the commerce tax. So while we wait for the 2017 legislative session to address the commerce tax, I turn my focus to D.C., in the hopes the Republican-controlled Senate and House take action to reform the IRS tax code to help spur our economy.

Many politicians have gotten elected saying the IRS is too big, or the tax code is complicated, yet once in office they fail to take action to simplify the tax code or reduce the power of the IRS. Right now there are many bills in Congress that would do both, and we need to be speaking up and encouraging our elected representatives to support these efforts.

I’m frustrated with a government who continues to burden the people who create 60 percent of net new job growth — small business. For small business owners, the cost to comply with taxes runs about 67 percent higher than larger companies.

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee is reviewing recommendations from several bipartisan tax reform working groups who have looked at ways to make taxes simpler and fairer. One idea that seems to have broad support is lowering the corporate tax rate. The U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate of any developed country, which continues to hurt more and more small businesses than large.

Nevada has hundreds of businesses selling products in the global marketplace. These companies need to have tax rates comparable with not only their larger U.S. competitors but foreign companies as well.

Part of the discussion on tax reform has to include not raising taxes on energy, which I hear there are proposals to do. The oil and gas sector is leading job growth in our country, and these companies already pay an average tax rate of 37 percent while the average rate for other sectors in the S & P 500 stands at 29 percent. We need to expand domestic energy production for our own national security and for job creation as well, as lowering taxes on energy helps spur growth and lower prices to consumers.

Congress can do something positive to create jobs while at the same time insuring our national security — and by the way, increase revenues to the Treasury. It can and must repeal the 45 year, anachronistic ban on the export of crude oil.

The tax code is overly complex, particularly for small businesses owners. Small businesses can’t afford to hire an employee to help hide their income, yet large corporations have whole divisions doing just that. The tax code is grossly unfair and burdensome to the one segment of the economy that’s creating the most jobs.

It’s time to close the loopholes that inhibit the economic potential and success of American small businesses, while lowering the overall tax rate for all U.S. companies in order to help them stay competitive and bring more of their earnings back to the U.S. to invest here.

As election season picks up, I know I’ll be asking our members of Congress along with the Presidential candidates to support tax reform. Lowering taxes spurs domestic job growth — an economics lesson many other elected officials apparently forgot!

Jim Wheeler is the Assemblyman for District 39 and represents Douglas, Storey and parts of Lyon counties.