Voices from Michigan: What tax reform could mean

House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers today joined Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) in Sterling Heights, Michigan, on the latest  stop of her “Faces of Tax Reform” tour.

Michigan, as Rep. Mitchell shared earlier today, is a state that greatly needs tax reform. “In Michigan, 40 percent of residents can’t afford basic necessities,” he writes for GOP.gov. “Knowing just how many of our fellow Michiganders are barely scraping by is a constant reminder to my colleagues and me of the responsibility we have as their representatives. It’s on us to do everything in our power to grow the economy and increase opportunities available to families and individuals across our home state.”

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Here’s what you may have missed…

Chair McMorris Rodgers:

“My parents’ dream for me was that I was going to go to college and have an opportunity for a better life, but it meant working multiple jobs to make that happen. I do remember that first paycheck when you’re working minimum wage…It was a big chunk that they took out in various taxes. We want a tax code that’s going to reward hardworking men and women in this country.”

“Our tax code should be focused on the American people. That should be our only special interest–the American taxpayer. …The tax code has become so complicated that more and more people don’t like they can fill out their own taxes, that you have to hire someone or you have to get a computer program. …The goal is simplification, but it’s also getting more economic growth so we address stagnant wages and stagnant jobs.”

Rep. Mitchell:

“We heard from people across the spectrum, from small businesses, agriculture to large businesses…local restaurants — there’s excitement to move on with tax reform and see the impact it will have on their business. We heard them talk about what they will do with they money [they’d save]…it would be invested in business — raised wages, paid benefits, all the things a small business has to do to move forward. I think there is a lot of inertia to do that.”

Voices from the District:

Victor Dzenowagis, a local restaurant owner:

“When [other small business owners] come into our restaurant and we talk, it’s about how they’re investing in their plants, how hard they’re working, how many weekends they’ve not had off, and how they want to do more for their business. The perception that small businesses are just greedy or self-serving could not be more incorrect…[and] the more that we have at our disposal of what is already our own money, that does go back to our business and that does go back to our people. …We pay our taxes first, we pay our people second, we pay our bills third, and then if anything’s left over we get paid. There have been plenty of years where we never got around to paying ourselves, and that’s a shame. We work so hard for it, we risk our time and our money, and it’s pretty ridiculous.”

Gary Gariglio, Interpower:

“I believe our people can compete just as well with the people that we employ in England, so there should be an equal playing field…and until we can really do that, it makes it very difficult for me to bring those jobs back here. It disappoints me.”

Tax Reform in the News:

Macomb Daily News | Tax reform cited as GOP ‘must pass’ at Sterling Heights forum

Altermatt, a fifth-generation farmer, was among those who stressed why tax reform is so important, saying the business of farming is traditionally handed down from generation to generation, but because of the estate tax that is no longer a viable option for families. “We’re land rich and money poor,” said Lawrence DeCook, also of Macomb Township, co-owner of a family-owned and operated produce farm. “In order to pay the estate tax you have to sell the farm.”

…“I am finding that there is a lot of excitement surrounding tax reform,” said McMorris Rodgers, whose own presentation addressed her party’s take on the issue…Mitchell, who has authored an opinion column on tax reform and has been meeting with workers and business owners across Michigan’s 10th District, said one of the goals of the reforming the complicated tax code should be to get rid of special interests while simplifying it. Gov. Rick Snyder echoed those sentiments in a tax reform column he authored.

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IJR | Republican Chair McMorris Rodgers Warns Tax Reform Critics Not to Draw ‘Lines In the Sand’

The chairwoman, who is currently embarking on a tax tour promoting the upcoming bill, laid out the party’s efforts to evangelize and debate tax reform through numerous methods. The congresswoman said the GOP has had “various discussions around tax reform,” touting a recent “Tax Camp” at which members were informed on where the party stood “around the framework between the House and the Senate and the administration.”

“We have held numerous hearings on tax reform; we have a website,” McMorris Rodgers said, urging individuals to reach out with their input on various proposals at FairandSimple.GOP. During her tax tour speaking across multiple states — which included Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Michigan — McMorris Rodgers told entrepreneurs, “We have an opportunity to fundamentally change the course that we’re on, and I think that’s why you’re here.”

“It’s an opportunity to increase our standard of living, increase the opportunity that we have as Americans,” she added. ”It really starts by enacting permanent tax reform so that we have more jobs, fair taxes, and bigger paychecks.”

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