Slow and steady, steady and slow. No matter how you paint it, there’s no exciting way to describe the 2.1% annual economic growth that we’ve experienced as a nation since 2009. In particular, America’s small businesses have felt the slow economic recovery, while they shoulder the burden of an unfriendly tax rate, limited access to capital, and over-regulation.
At the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, we represent 4.2 million businesses that, combined, contribute $668 billion to our national economy. We also advocate on behalf of 260 major American corporations and serve as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local chambers and business associations nationwide.
For the viability of our small and medium-sized businesses, the status quo cannot remain. We know that spurring economic growth higher than the currently sluggish 2.1%, presents an enormous opportunity for the next administration. As part of a pro-business agenda, the Department of the Treasury must work to eliminate the hurdles that America’s small business owners face on a regular basis.
One of the main architects in achieving this goal will be the Secretary of the Treasury. We know that nominee for Secretary of Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, will play a pivotal role within the administration to promote a fair corporate tax rate and roll back much of the complex web of financial regulations that hurt our companies.
Right now, the country’s corporate tax rate can be as high as 39 percent, the third highest of the world’s 188 countries according to the Tax Foundation. By comparison, European countries average about half the tax rate for their corporations. Even the most prosperous nations have lower rates, such as England (19%), India (25%), Germany (30%), Japan (32%) and France (33%). Our corporate tax rate needs to encourage the growth of the small and medium-sized businesses that are responsible for creating two-thirds of new jobs in this country. We need a Treasury Secretary that will lower corporate tax rates as a means to promote the entrepreneurship and business growth that will create new jobs.
Plus, we’ve seen too many of our community and regional banks struggle throughout the country. The number of community banks with less than $10 billion in assets declined 14 percent between Dodd-Frank’s passage in 2010 and the end of 2014, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. These banks have been squeezed by the complex web of one-size-fits-all regulations and handcuffed in their ability to provide access to capital desperately needed by entrepreneurs.
We support several changes that the nominee for Treasury Secretary has already identified as top priorities. He could lower tax rates for companies and citizens through his oversight of the IRS. He could remove regulations that limit business growth by making it difficult for small businesses to get the capital they need to expand. He could enact policies that increase economic growth to a robust 3-4% instead of the current 2.1%. We need a Treasury Secretary that seeks to review regulations and eliminate the ones that hinder business growth.
Furthermore, we are encouraged that he could address some of the burdensome effects of over-regulation. Specifically, we believe that his work with Chairman Hensarling of the House Financial Services Committee and Wilbur Ross, Trump’s pick to head the Commerce Department, will play a pivotal role in the effectiveness of our future economy.
We are confident that Mnuchin will excel at all of these endeavors. With almost 20 years of experience working as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, Mr. Mnuchin brings a wealth of knowledge regarding economic and financial issues. More to the point, Mnuchin has a particularly keen understanding of the importance of lending and access to capital and credit. He brings a level of experience needed to succeed in this critical mission. It is our belief that Mnuchin will focus on the importance of lending and how it impacts the bottom line for so many entrepreneurs.
At the USHCC, we advocate for a Treasury Department that makes it easier for entrepreneurs to form the small businesses that create economic development, spur job growth, and drive our American economy. That is why we support Steve Mnuchin for Secretary of the Treasury.
Published in Forbes.