Over the past few years American families, farmers and small businesses have worked hard to pay their fair share, while many of the wealthiest Americans and large corporations pay little to nothing in federal taxes. At the same time, other businesses trying to grow, compete and create jobs in the economy are finding themselves at a disadvantage in competing with foreign counterparts. Thankfully, there is widespread agreement across regions and party lines that we need real tax reform to simplify the system, help American businesses compete and make sure everyone pays their fair share.
In the short term, there are things we can do to provide relief where regulations or the tax code have unfairly burdened certain segments of the economy. For example, I recently supported the repeal of what’s known as the three-percent withholding requirement for companies that do business with the government. This effort was successful and became law, and can help put money in the pockets of American businesses right away so they can grow and create jobs, at no cost to the taxpayer. I also support efforts to shorten the depreciation schedule for farm equipment to help incentivize capital investments and give family farmers a much needed tax break in these tough economic times. Additionally, I introduced the Home Energy Affordability Tax Relief (HEATR) Act, which would create a new tax deduction to help offset high heating costs in homes and businesses.
I also introduced the Small Business Tax Relief Act, a bill to repeal a provision of the health care reform law that would have required businesses to send IRS Form 1099s for every business-to-business transaction of $600 or more for both property and services. Legislation including this provision passed the House and was signed into law by President Obama last year.
In the long term, we need real tax reform that simplifies the code and ensures everyone pays their fair share. While taxes are critical to ensuring the availability of essential government services, the federal government has a responsibility to keep taxes low – especially on the middle class – and restrain government spending. I will be focused on a number of priorities as the process for tax reform plays out in the months ahead. We must make wise investments in infrastructure to help create jobs and implement targeted tax cuts and credits to help farmers, businesses and families thrive in New York. This is a job creation strategy supported by many economists, and I’ve introduced several pieces of targeted tax legislation to do just that.
Additionally, I believe it is critical that we shield family farms and small businesses from the estate tax. I supported raising the exemption from the tax from $3 million to $5 million per person, which is now the law. This rate will allow small business owners and farmers in Upstate New York to pass along their businesses to future generations and allow the local economy to thrive.
I understand these are tough economic times and I am keenly aware of the challenges that our region faces. I support the call for a complete revision of the tax code to make it fairer and less complicated for the system to work better for everyone.