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Walk and Chew Gum

July 7, 2017

Earlier this year, the Senate dedicated a lot of its time to considering the president’s nominees to various posts within the federal government, which is normal for the beginning of any new administration. As the administration continues to fill out, there will surely be more for us to consider. We’ve spent a lot of time on health care reform this year, too, and rightfully so. Obamacare is collapsing, and we’re working hard to enact reforms that would reduce costs and increase access to care. Looking ahead, tax reform is on the horizon, and I’ve been laying the groundwork in several areas that would help South Dakota families and businesses.

One of the first pieces of legislation I introduced this Congress was my bill to repeal the death tax, which can hit family-run farms and ranches, in particular, at the worst possible time. According to the American Farm Bureau, thousands of South Dakota farms and ranches would be subject to the death tax today. Burying this onerous tax once and for all would give folks greater peace of mind as they continue the hard work of keeping their operations open and functioning.

In March, I reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would improve and modernize S corporations – a technical term for a popular type of business, usually a small business, which benefits from a simpler and more flexible structure under the tax code. There’s more than 4 million S corporations in cities and towns around the country, including thousands in South Dakota. My bill would reform this part of the tax code so it does an even better job of working for small businesses and not against them.

America is home to some of the most generous people in the world, which is why I recently joined forces with a bipartisan group of senators to reintroduce a bill that would make it far easier for public charities, foundations, and other tax-exempt organizations to do the important work of serving those in need. The Charities Helping Americans Regularly Throughout the Year Act – or CHARITY Act – is a great example of common-sense, bipartisan legislation that would really help the American people.

I’ve perhaps spent the most time this year, though, working on a significant piece of legislation that would spur growth for new and existing businesses in South Dakota, including farms and ranches. My INVEST Act, short for the Investment in New Ventures and Economic Success Today Act, would help accelerate cost recovery on start-up and investment expenses for prospective business owners, as well as equipment, inventory, and certain other purchases for existing business owners. The faster we can get money back into folks’ hands, the faster we can get the economy growing at a stronger rate, which means growing businesses in our communities, new jobs, and wage growth for hard-working South Dakotans.

Congress can walk and chew gum at the same time, which is why I’ve spent a lot of time getting a head-start on these bills. All of them would be prime measures to include in a comprehensive tax reform package. And there’s more work under way right now to make sure tax reform results in a tax code that works for American businesses and consumers. My hope is that once we’ve wrapped up our debate on health care reform, we take up tax reform. I’ve been working with my colleagues on the Finance Committee all year as we’ve prepared to take it up. When we do, I’ll be ready.