NFIB Indiana member Mark Hagar asked Sens. Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz about tax reform that benefits small business on CNN’s national debate last week.
NFIB member Mark Hagar, of Prentice Products in Fort Wayne, Indiana, was invited onto the nationally broadcast CNN debate between Sens. Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz as a spokesperson for small business. The opposing senators faced off in last week’s town hall debate in an effort to hash out measures to reform the federal tax system.
Moderated by CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, Sen. Cruz kicked off the debate by defending the tax proposal being crafted in Congress. Sen. Sanders asserted that while he believes slashing tax rates for middle-income individuals would be beneficial, he objects to solutions that cut taxes on the wealthy. NFIB member Mark Hagar asked the senators to think about small business.
“President Trump has championed the Republican plan as a win for small businesses,” said Bash. “The proposal would cut the top tax rate for small business owners from 39.6 percent to 25 percent.” Bash used this information to introduce Hagar, and to direct the debate toward how small businesses would be affected by the proposed tax reform.
Hagar asked Sen. Sanders why he has characterized the policy reducing the tax rate for small businesses—who are already taxed at a higher rate than corporations—as disastrous, bad policy. In response, Sanders recognized that federal, state, and local taxes are forcing small businesses to struggle, and that tax policy needs to keep small business in mind.
“We can come together in a bipartisan way and say we need to help small business,” said Sen. Sanders. However, Sanders said that “80 percent of the benefits go to the top one percent” as his argument against the legislation.
Sen. Cruz, on the other hand, argued that Sen. Sanders couldn’t be on the side of the small business owner because he hasn’t proposed cutting tax rates, but rather has suggested raising rates.
With reform that benefits small business in mind, Sens. Sanders and Cruz were able to agree that increasing the standard deduction will help American working families. In doing so, married couples wouldn’t have to pay taxes on the first $24,000 of their income, according to Sen. Cruz. In this policy measure, the opposing senators were able to find understanding.
“We found some common ground,” said Sen. Cruz. “It is a miraculous night.”
For small business, finding solutions across party lines is a big step in the right direction. Now that Congress has passed their budget resolution, small business owners can expect to hear details of the drafted tax package soon—and ideally, it will take into account the needs of small businesses.
“It is crucial that Congress pass tax reform before the end of the year,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan in a press release. “This is the best chance we’ve had in more than a generation to reform the tax code in a way that will lift all businesses and grow the economy.”