VA West, the largest coalition of small businesses in Southwest Virginia, is urging lawmakers representing the region in Washington to vote against a proposed increase of the corporate tax rate from 21 to 28% and the potential doubling of the Global Intangible Low Tax Income (GILTI) from 10.5 to 21%.
“These additional taxes would pose a significant risk to the ongoing economic recovery and carry serious financial implications for workers, employers and the broader economic environment across the Commonwealth,” wrote Christine Kennedy, chairman of VA West, in a letter to members of the congressional delegation obtained by Cardinal News.
After months of negotiations, the U.S. Senate passed a massive bipartisan infrastructure bill in early August that includes $550 billion in new federal investments in America’s infrastructure over five years.
The bill is currently in the House for approval before it can head to President Joe Biden’s desk, but it is facing a holdup by progressive Democrats who don’t want to vote on the legislation without voting to pass a separate $3.5 trillion spending bill that would overhaul portions of the country’s social safety net system – and almost certainly would raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
Biden said back in spring that he wants to pay for these expenses by increasing the corporate tax rate to between 25 and 28%, up from the current rate of 21% set under the Trump administration’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
In the letter Kennedy pointed out that prior to the pandemic, Virginia’s 760,000 small businesses accounted for more than 99% of all businesses in the Commonwealth and nearly 1.6 million working Virginians. “The majority of these small businesses have fewer than 100 employees. Many of these companies, organized as corporations, are subject to corporate income tax. An increase in this tax during these uncertain times, and as the effects of the pandemic continue to be calculated, would be untenable,” she wrote.
Kennedy submitted the letter on Sept. 2 to Reps. Ben Cline, R-6th, Morgan Griffith, R-9th, Bob Good, R-5th, Jennifer Wexton, D-10th, and Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, about three weeks after Barry DuVal, chairman of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, sent a similar plea to Virginia’s entire congressional delegation. VA WEST comprises 14 chambers in Central, Southside, and Western Virginia, with a membership of more than 4,500 businesses.
“Ordinarily, VA West focuses primarily on state-level issues, but when there are big changes proposed at the federal level, we certainly get involved in advocacy,” Kennedy said in an email Monday. “A tax increase to businesses would only exacerbate the challenges our members are facing in the midst of the ongoing pandemic,” she said.
While VA West’s push has yet to receive formal responses from congressional representatives, Kennedy said she will continue to urge our lawmakers to consider the implications of such policies on businesses. “Further, we will continue to champion and advocate for pro-business legislation that ensures businesses – small and large alike – are able to thrive in Virginia recognizing that without commerce, there are no jobs,” Kennedy said.
Kaine said in an email on Monday that the bill pending before Congress will provide “transformative support” to Virginia’s small business community by providing tax cuts to more than 3.9 million entrepreneurs nationwide. “This legislation invests in affordable health care and child care, family and medical leave, universal pre-K, higher education, affordable housing, workforce development programs, and small businesses – all while cutting taxes for middle-class families. In fact, it won’t raise taxes on Americans making less than $400,000,” Kaine said.
However, Cline, a Republican from Botetourt County, said in an email Friday that raising the corporate tax rate “to higher than that of even communist China” would have a “detrimental impact” on American families and businesses alike. “Not only does it make the United States less competitive on the world stage and force companies to move their operations overseas, but it would lead to higher prices for consumers and lower wages for workers. President Biden’s proposal would be detrimental to our ongoing economic recovery from the COVID pandemic,” Cline said.
Markus Schmidt is a reporter for Cardinal News. Reach him at email@example.com.