Tax Reform the Talk of Fly-in

More than 100 of the state’s top business leaders descended on D.C. this week for the Indiana Chamber’s Fly-in event with our congressional delegation.

Attendees received meaningful and timely information from their representatives and senators through policy briefings, special dinner discussions and office visits.

Tax reform was the hot topic. How ironic that while we were D.C.-bound that President Donald Trump would be heading to Indianapolis to roll out his tax reform plan for the first time, and taking nearly half of the Indiana delegation with him on Air Force One for the announcement. But almost all Hoosier delegation members made it back in time to address their business constituents.

The tax reform message the Indiana Chamber contingent delivered to lawmakers in D.C. was that failure should not be an option – this needs to get done!

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio wraps up his remarks on tax reform – turning the floor over to Sen. Todd Young and Sen. Joe Donnelly for a Q&A session.

What caught our attention was how deeply committed everyone is to have tax reform cross the finish line. We felt that from our guest speaker, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, considered the Senate fiscal expert, to Indiana members in the House and Senate, including Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly.

They know it’s important not only to them politically but they also realize that it’s much needed policy.

President Trump’s tax reform framework, which assuredly was done in tandem with congressional leaders, includes actions that the Indiana Chamber and business community at-large have been championing for some time:

• Lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% – the highest in the world today, which drives investment, jobs and even corporate headquarters overseas
• Lowering the top personal income tax rate – which now offers disincentives for initiative, investment and risk-taking while reducing the number of brackets
• Eliminating the alternative minimum tax (AMT), which is overly complex and ineffective, and the estate tax, which endangers many family farms and small businesses
• Adopting a territorial system in which income earned overseas is not taxed in the U.S.

In our Q&A with Sens. Donnelly and Todd Young, they were asked to handicap the likelihood – on a one to 10 scale – of a meaningful tax reform package making it through Congress. Donnelly gave it a fairly hopeful six, while Young said he’s more confident today than even a few months ago and now puts the chances for success at seven-plus.

Young added: “At a time when the rate of business creation is lower than at any period in my own life, I feel like the time is now for tax reform. And the President made a compelling case in what I thought were pretty accessible terms (for Americans).”

Donnelly summed up his thoughts on the matter: “My view on tax reform is simple: I want to try to get to ‘yes’. I think it’s much better if it’s bipartisan. … I think it’s a much better message to the country.”

At our legislative briefing, Congressman Larry Bucshon (IN-08) offered his assessment as well. “As long as both sides don’t go to our corners and stick with our traditional talking points – trying to win an election in 2018 – we are going to get this done.”

Tax reform, if done correctly, would broaden the base while lowering rates across the board – spurring new investment, job creation, economic growth and, ultimately, tax revenues, without increasing the federal deficit.

Our tax code should look like it was designed on purpose for strategic economic growth.
We are hopeful that’s what will happen in the coming months.

A big thank you to our D.C. Fly-in sponsors for making the event possible: Zimmer Biomet (dinner sponsor), Allegion (cocktail reception sponsor), Build Indiana Council (legislative briefing sponsor), AT&T, The Boeing Company, Duke Energy, The Kroger Co., Old National Bank and Wabash Valley Power.

We hope to see everyone who attended – and more – back next year!

Senators Discuss Tax Reform, Trip to Indy During D.C. Fly-in

While the irony of timing isn’t lost on anyone, the Indiana Chamber’s annual D.C. Fly-in delegation was in Washington D.C. yesterday while President Trump and several Indiana congressional representatives were in Indianapolis as the President revealed his tax reform plan.

It was an important moment for Indiana to be in the national spotlight as the much-anticipated tax reform plan was revealed. Read Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar’s statement on the reform plan here.

And though some of Indiana’s federal lawmakers were in Indianapolis, both of Indiana’s senators were able to return in time to attend the D.C. Fly-in dinner and address over 100 Hoosier business leaders about their trip with the President.

Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young  discussed the potential for bipartisan agreement on tax reform (and a “sweet” treat Donnelly brought with him from Air Force One):

Additionally, one of the Senate’s leading tax experts, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), shared his perspective at the D.C. Fly-in dinner. Here are a few of his comments to the group, on the “positive list” of reforms included in the President’s tax plan:

We’ve been keeping you updated on social media (find us on Twitter at @IndianaChamber or follow #ICCinDC, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/indianachamber/).

Thank you to all our event guests and sponsors for the 2017 D.C. Fly-in, including Build Indiana Council, Legislative Briefing sponsor; Allegion, cocktail reception sponsor; and Zimmer Biomet, dinner sponsor.

100+ Business Leaders Going to D.C. This Week for Chamber Fly-in

A record group of more than 100 of the state’s top business leaders and government affairs executives will be attending the Indiana Chamber’s annual D.C. Fly-in on September 27 and 28. The timing couldn’t be more perfect with a potential health care reform vote, rollout of a tax reform plan and the end of the fiscal year all taking place.

This year, legislative briefings will be conducted by congressional members, who will be highlighting key public policy areas that line up with their committee assignments and expertise:

  • Tax reform – Indiana 2nd District U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski
  • Regulatory reform – Indiana 9th District U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth
  • Health care reform – Indiana 8th District U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon
  • Infrastructure and transportation policy – Indiana 4th District U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita
  • Education policy – Indiana 6th District U.S. Rep. Luke Messer

There is still time to register for the D.C. Fly-in; go to www.indianachamber.com/specialevents.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter at @IndianaChamber or #ICCinDC for up-to-the-minute important information on what’s happening in Washington.

Zimmer Biomet is the Fly-in’s dinner sponsor. Allegion is the cocktail reception sponsor. Build Indiana Council is the legislative briefing sponsor.

Event sponsors are AT&T, The Boeing Company, Duke Energy, The Kroger Co., Old National Bank and Wabash Valley Power.

Chambers Assisting with Rep. Todd Young Tax Reform Tour

The Indiana Chamber is delighted to partner once again with Rep. Todd Young as he tours the state, working with local chambers to communicate the need for tax reform. A release from his office has dates and more information:

As the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee prepare to roll out reforms to the U.S. tax code, Ways and Means Committee member and Indiana Congressman Todd Young (IN-9) announced on Friday that he will embark on a statewide tour to talk about proposed changes with local businesses. The events are being hosted by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and local Chambers of Commerce in each area, and other members of the Indiana Congressional delegation will be on hand at some of the events.
 
“We haven’t fundamentally overhauled our tax system in a quarter of a century, and since the 1986 reforms our code has been larded up with provisions that only benefit narrow interests,” said Young. “The net effect is a tax code that is confusing, complex and difficult for individuals and small businesses to comply with. As we try to spur our economy, making the code simpler, fairer and flatter is key.”
 
While the events will be closed to the press to promote candid discussions, a media availability will be held at 1 p.m. local time after each roundtable. Local media will have the chance to talk with Rep. Young, other members of the delegation, and local businesses about what was discussed.
 
WHO: Congressman Todd Young (IN-9), the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, and local Chambers of Commerce
 
WHAT: Tax reform roundtable (closed to press) and media availability (open to press)
 
WHEN & WHERE:

Monday, August 12
Media Availability at 1 p.m. EDT
Indy Chamber
Chase Tower, 19th Floor
Indianapolis, IN
 
Wednesday, August 14
Media Availability at 1 p.m. EDT
Warsaw Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce
Mad Anthony’s Tap Room
113 E Center Street
Warsaw, IN
 
Friday, August 16 with Rep. Larry Bucshon (IN-8)
Media Availability at 1 p.m. CDT
Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce
318 Main Street, Suite 401
Evansville, IN
 
Monday, August 19 with Rep. Marlin Stutzman (IN-9)
Media Availability at 1 p.m. EDT
Ft. Wayne Chamber of Commerce
826 Ewing Street
Ft. Wayne, IN
 
Tuesday, August 20
Media Availability at 1 p.m. CDT
Northwest Indiana Forum
6100 Southport Road
Portage, IN
 
Wednesday, August 28
Media Availability at 1 p.m. EDT
One Southern Indiana
4100 Charlestown Road
New Albany, IN
 
Thursday, August 29
Media Availability at 1 p.m. EDT
Bloomington Chamber of Commerce
Uptown Café
102 E Kirkwood Avenue
Bloomington, IN

Your Vote: Debt Committee Get to Work

We asked what your top priority was for Washington leaders to accomplish. You responded:

  • Debt reduction: 43%
  • Reform tax code: 26%
  • Less intrusive federal regulations: 14%
  • Long-term transportation bill: 6%

In the "other" category, several respondents liked each of the options and chose "all of the above." Others opted for "reduce unemplyment" and "stimulus bill."

With primary season just around the corner, and we mean that with the initial votes expected to come just three days into 2012, the new question asks you to choose your GOP favorite at this point. Cast your unofficial vote today — top right of this page.

Polls: Yes to Taxes; Top D.C. Priority?

A simple yes/no question generated a large response in the latest informal Indiana Chamber poll.

We asked: Should online retailers (on a national basis) be required to collect sales taxes? Your responses: 61% yes, 39% no.

It’s a complicated topic. As we’ve shared earlier, the Chamber’s Bill Waltz has written an excellent analysis that identifies some of the key issues as a national solution (not a state-by-state approach) is required.

Coming off the Chamber’s annual D.C. Fly-in, our new question asks: What is your top priority for Washington policy leaders to accomplish? The choices include reform tax code, debt reduction, less intrusive federal regulations, long-term transportation bill and other (you tell us).

Check out the top right column of this page to register your vote.

Coats, Chamber Members Share Tax Reform Ideas

Combine a U.S. senator working to thoughtfully make a difference on a major issue impacting our future with an audience of knowledgable business leaders and there’s no doubt that you have a winning combination. That point was proven earlier today.

The event at the Indiana Chamber featured Sen. Dan Coats (R-Indiana) discussing The Bipartisan Tax Fairness and Simplification Act of 2011. This year’s version was introduced last week with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). Coats came to Indianapolis to outline the topic and gain feedback; he and his staff were not disappointed as they left with ideas and initiatives to further explore.

How does the following sound as part of the introduced bill?

  • Having 90% of taxpayers able to file with a one-page form
  • Reducing the corporate income tax rate to a flat 24% (or possibly even lower) to encourage economic growth
  • Moving the U.S. away from having the second highest combined corporate tax rates among 36 developed countries

It’s all done on a revenue neutral basis. Many current exclusions in the tax code would be eliminated in exchange for the lower overall rate. But Coats notes that this is a work in progress — and that’s why he’s collecting reactions and suggestions as he did today.

"There will be several other iterations (tax reform proposals), but we’re the first one out of the gate," he said, outlining his principles in agreeing to sign on to the legislation. The final caveat was that this be an open book — "so we can modify and adjust as needed."

In a letter sent to President Obama, 64 senators wrote, as Coats outlined today, that "this is more serious than who wins the election in 2012. It’s about which path we want to take for the future of our country." Currently, he adds, the federal government is spending $4 billion a day more than it takes in.

Returning to the Senate position he once held, Coats does cite a positive in the first few months of 2011. "We’ve elevated the debate to where it needs to be. The debate is not about how much more to add (budget spending), but how much to cut."

With a debt that he explains has gone from $1 trillion in 1981 to $14.3 trillion 30 years later, how can anyone argue with that?