Weekly Columns

Changing The Way We Do Business

Senator John Boozman's Column Week of August 22, 2011

Aug 23 2011

Ben Franklin famously said, "The only things certain in life are death and taxes." While there are precautions we can take to postpone the first, we can’t control it, but we do have the ability to regulate our tax structure and rates.

Last year Congress approved an extension of tax rates that kept Arkansans from paying more money to the federal government, Congress is working to reform our tax structure and at the state level, legislatures are providing some temporary relief.

In February state lawmakers approved a tax free weekend to help ease the cost of back-to-school. As a former school board member and a father of three daughters, I understand the expenses of a new school year. School supplies can be costly and last year’s clothes often do not survive the summer growth spurt.

In this sluggish economy, Arkansans are trying to find any bit of savings we can help us pay for our gas, provide our families with healthy meals or help us save for a rainy day. Many of us benefitted from this tax break on back to school gear in Arkansas as part of the state’s first sales tax holiday.

Cutting the sales tax for the weekend allowed us to invest in our local stores rather than take our business to neighboring states that have offered tax-free weekends for several years. This weekend tax break encouraged economic growth in Arkansas. Similarly, the federal government can stimulate economic growth through restructuring the tax code. By extending tax cuts, providing certainty to small businesses and incentivizing industries to call Arkansas and American home, we can improve our economic conditions nationwide.

Late last year Congress extended current tax rates. This was important to allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money, provides us with the opportunity to spend and invest more money in our economy and created more jobs at home. We need to continue to eliminate the threat of job-destroying tax hikes and provide certainty for businesses and families.

The United States has one of the highest corporate income tax rates. These high rates discourage businesses from establishing manufacturing plants  in our country, instead moving to places around the world that have a more business friendly environment with less regulation. We need to provide incentives to businesses willing to stay or locate to the United States and provide jobs for hardworking Americans.

Unemployment remains near 10 percent nationwide, the housing market is still depressed, and real GDP growth remains weak. Tax increases are not the answer to revitalizing our economy. With simple fixes to our tax structure Americans will be allowed to keep more of the money they make and spend it as they please.