The federal government isn’t the primary creator of jobs – the private sector is. But my number one goal is to make sure I'm doing everything I can to put the right policies in place to ensure Coloradans have the tools they need to succeed. From my perspective, to help Colorado - and the country - win the global economic race, there are three things the government needs to focus on: reform from within, fiscal discipline and innovation.
For example, reforming our tax code is a key part of spurring innovation. I believe that federal taxes should be as simple, low and fair as possible so that Colorado families and small-business owners can use their hard-earned money to save, invest and expand their opportunities. Tax policy should help spur job growth, and the tax burden should be manageable for individual taxpayers and businesses.
For these and other reasons, I would like to see Congress tackle tax reform. Many provisions in the tax code actually discourage American innovation and job growth. And the sheer complexity of the tax code is a barrier to an efficient economy. Let's simplify the tax code to create a more business-friendly environment.
It's not going to be easy. For far too long, partisan fighting has slowed progress on meaningful tax reform. That's not what Coloradans want to see from their elected representatives. I want all Coloradans to know that I will work to bridge the partisan divide in Washington, D.C., as the U.S. Senate debates tax policy in the coming months and years. You also have my commitment that I will always listen to all views about reforming our tax system, and I will make my decisions based on what is best for Colorado, its families and its small businesses.
Here are some of my principles:
- I believe we need sensible estate tax reform so that families can leave their farms or their businesses to their children. To that end, I've introduced legislation that would preserve family farms and the heritage of our rural communities by helping families avoid the pressure to sell, break up or develop their properties when they're handed down from one generation to the next.
- I believe that carefully targeted tax credits and deductions can help make higher education more affordable, help families afford to care for their children, and defray the expenses of making homes more energy efficient.
- I've listened to small-business owners, many of whom support targeted tax relief that can help grow their businesses, create jobs and restore the economy. To help reach this goal, I joined members of both parties to co-sponsor legislation to help businesses use their net operating losses as refunds to invest in new plant and equipment, which is designed to help job growth.
- Finally, I believe that we in Congress must seriously evaluate our current corporate tax structure, which has grown into an unfair, complicated and inefficient system that costs businesses hundreds of billions of dollars each year just to stay in compliance. By consolidating, reducing and eliminating complex or outmoded tax provisions, we could give our businesses the advantages they will need to lead in the global marketplace.
This type of common-sense tax policy is what Coloradans demand, and I pledge to remain diligent in pursuing more policies like it in the years ahead.
As Coloradans, we treasure our public lands and open spaces. But even though these stunning natural resources attract tourists and support Main Street businesses, they do not directly contribute to the local tax base. As such, they don't directly support the basic public services like roads, police and schools that local communities count on. The Payment in Lieu of Taxes program — commonly known as "PILT" — is a critical source of support for communities with large tracts of nontaxable federal lands to maintain public safety and support Coloradans' high quality of life. That's why I introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen the PILT program by ensuring that rural leaders are not left in budget limbo every year due to the uncertainty of the Congressional budget process. Providing this certainty will help Colorado communities create jobs, attract new residents and preserve our unique way of life for future generations.
I supported the HIRE Act, which President Obama signed into law on March 18. The bill, which passed the Senate 68-29, with strong bipartisan support, will spur job growth and strengthen the private sector by encouraging businesses to hire new workers and invest in their companies and communities. The HIRE Act provides tax incentives for businesses to hire unemployed workers, encourages small businesses to invest in their future by permitting them to write off up to $250,000 in new equipment investments, jumpstarts highway infrastructure projects, and frees up investment capital for cities and states to create jobs and improve their communities with further infrastructure projects. These measures will grow our economy, strengthen Colorado businesses and create jobs for hardworking Coloradans.
I introduced the Brewers Excise and Economic Relief Act of 2009 to lower the excise tax on a barrel of beer from $18 per barrel to $9, the pre-1991 level (for smaller producers: $7 to $3.50 per barrel). Colorado is the largest beer producing state in the country and the beer industry is responsible for over 100,000 jobs in production, manufacturing, commodities production and retail distribution.