President Trump recently released his tax package in Indiana, promising much-needed individual and corporate tax cuts. Among the president's promises is a new 25 percent small business tax rate. In his words, the tax overhaul is a "once-in-a-generation" opportunity.
He's right. After eight years of anti-growth economic policies, small business owners can finally rejoice. So can the millions of people who depend on them. America is home to more than 29 million small businesses, employing roughly 60 million workers—half of the U.S. workforce. In fact, small businesses make up 99.9 percent of all U.S. companies, generating over $470 billion in exports every year.
In my home state of Florida, there are 2.3 million small businesses, employing over three million workers. As the president and CEO of Joseph's Lite Cookies, I'm proudly one of them. I run a family-owned sugar-free cookie business dedicated to quality service and, of course, really good cookies. We back more than 12 million sugar-free cookies a day, in addition to supplying other diabetic-friendly products.
But small businesses like mine are crushed by the current tax burden. The overwhelming majority of these businesses—95 percent—are considered "pass-through" entities, which means their owners are taxed at the highest individual marginal tax rate. As it stands now, the pass-through tax rate hovers around 40 percent. With state and local taxes included, the pass-through tax burden can reach 50 percent.
When half of a small business's income goes to the government, very few resources are left over for business expansion and job creation. Speaking from experience, a small business tax cut would allow me to invest in new recipes and, most importantly, new employees. I would also be able to raise wages for my current workers, who work hard to bake our famous cookies and serve our hungry customers.
As Congress prepares to put a tax bill on President Trump's desk, legislators can take a page out of Florida's playbook. Earlier this year, Gov. Rick Scott signed a $180 million tax cut package focused on small business tax relief. The new law slashed taxes charged on business rent, saving our state's small businesses more than $60 million a year. This money can be reinvested into higher wages and more jobs.
The stars have aligned for tax cuts. According to the American Action Network, nearly 75 percent of Americans consider a comprehensive tax package an important priority for Congress. Most Americans agree that federal, state, and local tax rates are too high.
Tax cuts have nothing to do with "corporate greed"; they have everything to do with job creators creating more jobs. I do not advocate for tax cuts simply to increase my bottom line. I don't believe in lower taxes for the sake of living a luxury lifestyle. I believe in them because, when small businesses succeed, American employees and their families reap the benefits. Our communities reap the benefits.
When small business prospers, the American economy prospers. That's the way the cookie crumbles. Washington, the ball's in your court.
Joseph Semprevivo is the president and CEO of Joseph's Lite Cookies in Florida. He is the #1 bestselling and award-winning author of Madness, Miracles, Millions.
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