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By U.S. SEN. Cory Gardner
Special to the Herald Times
RBC | Coloradans across the state are hardworking individuals who know what’s best for them, their families, and their communities. They understand that keeping more of their own money in their own pockets instead of sending it to Washington will provide them with more freedom to make their own decisions. As I travel around the state, I don’t hear Coloradans asking for Washington to take more of their hard-earned paychecks. I hear their stories about stagnant wage growth, high taxes and an economy that isn’t growing at the pace it should.
Wall Street and some metro areas may be booming, but Main Street hasn’t felt the benefits. Some communities along Colorado’s Front Range have experienced economic growth, but many in rural Colorado feel as though they can’t get ahead. They work harder and harder every year but rarely see any benefit.
They are not alone. Wages across America have not increased meaningfully in a long time. One cause for that is our outdated tax system. While our corporate tax rate was competitive 30 years ago, it’s now the highest in the industrialized world. It chases business investment out of the country, meaning new plants and equipment—the things that drive up worker wages—are built in foreign countries rather than here at home. Not surprisingly, worker wages have stagnated while corporate profits continue to rise. Before 1990, a 1 percent increase in corporate profits was associated with worker wages going up by more than 1 percent. From 2008 to 2016, a 1 percent increase in corporate profits yielded only a 0.3 percent increase in wages.
Tax relief will make our business taxes competitive again and provide the economic boost communities across Colorado have been waiting for. It brings home the $2.5 trillion in foreign profits U.S. multinationals have abroad and levels the playing field so American companies will invest here at home—creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, driving up wages, and boosting America’s economy. In fact, the day the bill passed Congress we already started to see major US companies announcing investments in American workers through higher wages and capital investments.
Those wages and job gains are on top of Americans of all incomes paying less in taxes.
Many opponents of this once-in-a-generation tax relief package have continued to make loud, headline-grabbing noise and incorrect claims, but I struggle to understand why Coloradans having more money is a bad thing. One of the attacks we continue to hear is that this tax cut doesn’t benefit the middle class, but nothing could be further from the truth. The tax bill will go down by more than $2,000 for the average family of four who has a median income of $73,000. That could mean one more family trip, after school sports programs for the kids, or even a little more money to save for a rainy day.
Doing big things isn’t easy. There has been passionate debate over the Republican vision of how to spur growth in our economy. Many opponents of this tax relief legislation sincerely question whether our economy can grow like it used to. So they respond to stagnant wages by wanting to send more money to Washington. I recognize that the way to increase wages is to grow the economy—to see what is causing businesses to invest abroad, fix it, and let American workers compete on their merits again. I am confident that this diagnosis is correct and this tax relief package that we delivered for the American people is going to have significant benefits for Colorado.
Aside from the growth effects, there are many provisions in this plan that will specifically benefit Coloradans. Colorado families will receive greater tax relief for childcare services; our farm cooperatives will be treated fairly; Colorado’s booming brewing and distilling business will receive relief; and our state’s renewable energy industry will continue to flourish.
I support the tax plan because it will bring relief to Coloradans living in all four corners of our great state. After years of complacency and being told we have to accept meager economic growth, the American people will once again see their economy accelerate. As government gets out of the way and lets American ingenuity thrive, our country will once again become an economic powerhouse for generations to come.
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R) represents Colorado’s Western Slope in Washington, D.C.