Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) today spoke on the Senate floor in support of tax reform. As chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, Risch has focused on highlighting small business issues in this tax reform process. Click here to watch the floor speech, click here to download the file via FTP link, or continue below to read the transcript.
Transcript of Risch floor speech:
"Mr. President, thank you. I rise today to speak about the tax reform issue and effort that is front and center for this Congress and for all Americans. Particularly, I want to point out the fact that Congress has not undertaken this difficult task ... for over 30 years. And in the years since the last major overhaul, Congress has by patchwork added numerous carve outs and special interests, passed short-term tax extenders which make planning for families and businesses very difficult, and generally contributed to a tax code that today is extremely complex, burdensome, and unpredictable.
"My colleague from Idaho, Senator Crapo, always says that we couldn't have done worse if we set out to intentionally do worse. Many of my colleagues and I have heard story after story from our constituents who say the same thing. The tax code makes it hard for families and businesses, especially small businesses, to comply and plan ahead, let alone grow and prosper. This conversation hasn't gone away, so clearly the system as it stands is not serving the American people as it should.
"It's imperative for the continued growth of the American economy that we simplify the system, reduce complexity, and create certainty. Tax reform will bring relief to American families and under the plan released by the Senate Finance Committee, middle-class Americans will see a benefit in the form of a lower tax bill, which means more money for households to bring home. In addition to keeping more money in the pockets of hardworking Americans, the Senate plan nearly doubles the standard deduction, increases the child tax credit to help families with the very real costs associated with raising a family, and preserves an existing tax credit to help care for elderly family members.
"This tax plan would also make it easier for individuals and families to avoid a time-consuming and expensive tax-filing nightmare by simplifying the tax code and eliminating deductions. The aim of this entire exercise is to make the tax code simpler, fairer, and easier to comply with, reducing the burden on taxpayers, and creating an environment that enables families and businesses to thrive. Tax reform will help grow small businesses.
"As chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, I have focused on highlighting small business issues in this tax reform process. Ranking Member Senator Shaheen and I held a bipartisan hearing in June to talk about the tax policies that would most benefit small businesses across the country. As a result, we sent a bipartisan letter to the Senate Finance Committee who was drawing this bill, outlining the policies we determined which were most important. The top line issue was the need to address the individual tax code along with the corporate tax code. Most of the nation's small businesses are organized in a way that they pay taxes through the individual code. It's amazing that they managed to create the majority of new jobs in America, despite facing this higher tax rate, with the added burden of spending time and money away from their businesses to comply with this complex tax code. Thankfully, Ranking Member Shaheen and I are not the only ones who heard this message, and lower rates for small businesses is part of this conversation. Small businesses have also identified tax policies that work for them along with changes that would be made to help more of them across the country. Just two of the examples are the cash method accounting and Section 179 expensing. Cash method accounting is a simpler way for small businesses to keep their books and section 179 expensing allows a small business to immediately deduct the cost of investing in their business up to a given level.
"Both of these common sense policies will reach more business owners in tax reform. I'm encouraged by the plan the Senate Finance Committee released last week and the process they are undertaking this week to move this bill forward. With tax reform, we have a real opportunity to make changes that will have a tangible, positive impact on the American people, and create an environment for our nation's job creators to prosper. I'm excited to see the kind of job creation that will result from the changes we're considering, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to make this a reality. Mr. President, thank you, and I yield the floor."