Manufacturers Intend to Deliver on Tax Reform's Promise

Manufacturers Intend to Deliver on Tax Reform's Promise
Alex T. Paschal/Sauk Valley Media via AP
Manufacturers Intend to Deliver on Tax Reform's Promise
Alex T. Paschal/Sauk Valley Media via AP
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President Trump and Congress promised to pass tax reform by year’s end, and they delivered. Now manufacturers will deliver as well. With our new and internationally competitive tax code, manufacturers will hire more workers, create more well-paying jobs, invest in our communities and put more money in the pockets of manufacturing workers. 

The driving purpose behind tax reform was to create more opportunities for more Americans and to benefit manufacturing workers and their families directly. President Trump called tax reform “rocket fuel” for the economy, and manufacturers strongly agreed. 

We’ve been given the fuel. Now we will put it to work. 

This is a historic moment for the United States. It had been 31 years since Congress passed meaningful tax reform. And over those decades, America’s competitiveness waned. Other countries figured out they could win our jobs and take our wealth by lowering their tax rates and reforming their tax codes—and, in turn, attract more business to their shores. 

The final tax legislation certainly isn’t perfect, and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is calling for a report every three years on our competitive position that compares us to the rest of the world in terms of our tax code. But this law is only part of a larger agenda for manufacturing competitiveness that also includes regulatory reform, infrastructure investment, trade expansion and workforce development. Tax reform, however, did include the key components manufacturers had called for over many years, even decades: a substantially lower corporate tax rate, tax relief for small manufacturers, a territorial tax system, benefits for buying new equipment and tools, and incentives for research and development. 

The critics and opponents of tax reform need to remember that our country’s tax rates were holding back our businesses and our workers as other countries won new investments and new jobs.  

After all, we had the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. That was unacceptable, and there was nothing competitive about that. Now we have a real shot to attract more investment in America. By providing relief to small businesses especially, Congress has strengthened the heart of the modern manufacturing economy. 

In the NAM’s latest quarterly Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey of our members, most respondents felt confident that tax reform would grow their businesses and help their workers.   

Sixty-three percent said comprehensive business tax reform would encourage their companies to spend more on their facilities and equipment, and 58 percent said they would expand their businesses. 

In addition, 54 percent said they would hire more workers, and almost half (49 percent) planned to increase wages and benefits. 

But while the numbers and rates are important, it is the people whose lives will change that really matter. There are working moms who will be able to put away more money for their children’s future or save enough for that home down payment. There are young people looking for work who will find newly created jobs—jobs that are rewarding and pay well. There are workers on the shop floor who will see bigger paychecks. There are entrepreneurs who will be able to dream bigger dreams. 

This is the promise of tax reform. This is the promise manufacturers made. And this is the promise we intend to keep. 

Jay Timmons is president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, the largest manufacturing trade association in the United States.

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