The leaders of Congress’s two main tax-writing committees kicked off their national tax reform tour Monday with meetings at two businesses in the Twin Cities area.
Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., met Monday with workers and executives at two St. Paul, Minn.-area businesses to discuss the need to overhaul the tax code to boost the economy and create more jobs.
“The U.S. tax code has not been updated in close to 30 years,” they said in a joint statement. “In that time, it has become increasingly complicated. Our tax code today contains nearly four million words and is riddled with loopholes that are acting as a brake on our economy. We have an opportunity to change all that. Tax reform can make the code simpler and fairer for America’s families and businesses and spark a more prosperous economy.”
Kicking off their nationwide outreach effort, Baucus and Camp visited the 3M Company and Baldinger Bakery, two distinctly different types of American businesses, on Monday. They plan to visit other businesses around the country to elicit feedback from outside the Washington Beltway (see Congressional Tax Committee Heads Plan Road Show Tour for Tax Reform). 3M is an American multinational corporation with more than 85,000 employees worldwide, while Baldinger Bakery is a fourth generation, family-run, local business with 85 employees.
During listening sessions with workers and business leaders, Baucus and Camp heard firsthand how the U.S. tax code affects growth, innovation and productivity. Baucus and Camp focused specifically on ways to improve the tax code to create new jobs and boost wages.
Monday’s meetings were the first in a series of conversations Baucus and Camp are having as part of their Simpler Taxes for America Tour. The chairmen of Congress’ two tax-writing committees plan to visit communities across the nation throughout the summer to hear directly from the American people about the need to improve their experience with the tax system.
“We are engaging the American public in a national conversation on how to fix the tax code,” they said. “That is why we are here in St. Paul, meeting with leaders in business—big and small. We want to hear how we can improve their experience with America’s tax system.”
The Baldinger Bakery was chosen as a stop because the business benefited from the New Markets Tax Credit. Financing for the facility and equipment at Baldinger Bakery was made available by Community Reinvestment Fund and the Port Authority, using the New Markets Tax Credit, which aims to help struggling communities.
"Businesses depend on access to capital to succeed. Our 125-year-old family business is no different," said Steve Baldinger, president of Baldinger Bakery, in a statement. "In 2010, we received the funds we needed to expand and continue producing goods and services in a cost-effective production environment with the help of the New Markets Tax Credit. We are incredibly thankful for the opportunity the credit afforded us, which also allowed us to stay in the city that has been our home for over a century and provide a living-wage to our 90+ employees."
Baldinger Bakery's new energy-efficient baking facility will employ 90 workers on the old Griffen Wheelworks site in East Saint Paul, a neighborhood with an unemployment rate nearly twice the national average. Building the new 144,854 square-foot facility employed 80 construction workers. The business also supports local women and minority-owned enterprises through the procurement of its raw materials.
The NMTC leverages billions of dollars in private investments in businesses and communities that, like Baldinger Bakery, probably would never receive injections of patient capital otherwise. A U.S. Government Accountability Office survey found 88 percent of NMTC investors would not have made their investments without this incentive.
Last month, Senators Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., introduced the New Markets Tax Credit Act of 2013 (S. 1133), to extend the tax credit indefinitely and enhance its potential impact by increasing the annual NMTC allocation.
"Senator Baucus and Representative Camp's visit to Baldinger Bakery underscores the importance of the NMTC to businesses and distressed communities," said Frank Altman, president and CEO of CRF USA, and a board member of the lobbying group the NMTC Coalition. "Through the credit, CRF has the ability to help revitalize seriously distressed communities, not just in Minnesota, but across the country. I encourage the chairmen to protect tax incentives like the NMTC that promote economic growth, strengthen businesses and create jobs."
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