Tax Reform

Capito pushes for changes in code

After eight years in which federal policy often seemed calculated to harm West Virginia’s economy rather than help Mountain State residents, something of a corner has been turned. President Donald Trump has vowed to put an end to needlessly harmful regulation of the coal and natural gas industries. He and others in his administration have made a start at that.

Trump and his Cabinet members have a broader agenda: making federal regulators partners with the private sector rather than adversaries. He seems to understand that the health and safety of Americans can be protected without mounting an assault on business and industry.

That — insisting on a regulatory climate that makes sense scientifically and economically, not just politically — is half the battle to putting West Virginia and the nation as a whole back on track to prosperity.

But another change is necessary, and on this one, Congress must act.

As Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has pointed out, regulatory reform can help make businesses more competitive. But comprehensive tax reform also is essential.

“Among the biggest drags on our nation’s economy in recent years have been excessive regulation and a tax code that is not competitive with the rest of the world,” Capito has written. “While we have made progress in Washington to ease the regulatory burden, now is the time to enact meaningful tax reform.”

At 35 percent, the top federal corporate tax rate is far above that of every one of the nation’s major economic competitors. It is more than twice as high as some of them.

It is no wonder that many big companies have shifted operations overseas, taking jobs with them.

Business tax reform would create new jobs, but with it, Congress also should lighten the burden on individuals and families, leaving more of our money in our pockets. That, too, would boost the economy.

Capito is right: “Tax reform, as much as any other policy that Congress can advance, will enhance growth in our state and provide more job opportunities for West Virginians.” It would do the same for millions of other Americans.

Trump has begun rolling back unnecessarily burdensome regulations. Now, it is Congress’ turn to act, to complete the second half of the pro-growth equation.

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