Small business leaders in Utah had the opportunity yesterday to let two Western federal lawmakers know what economic issues impact them the most. Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho joined Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah at Zions Bank Tower in downtown Salt Lake City to hear from local business leaders about what’s impeding job growth and profits. Crapo says the number one obstacle is the U.S. tax code:
“Our tax code is probably the most unfair, complex, expensive to comply with and anti-competitive code we could have come up with and our businesses are facing that.”
Crapo and Hatch are both members of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Senator Hatch has frequently noted that if re-elected and Republicans gain the majority in the Senate, he would be the committee’s chair.
“When we reform the tax system next year...I look forward to working side-by-side with Senator Crapo because we believe a pro-growth tax system will help unlock our growth out here in the West.”
Daryn Parker is the General Manager of PMI, an international food distributor in Salt Lake City. He says it’s too hard for U.S. corporations to operate effectively internationally. That’s why he says everyone takes their business overseas:
“We can’t be this far in the dark ages of taxation to not be able to benefit from world trade. Because we live in a different world today. The world today is different than 30 years ago, 40 years ago. And no one is addressing the issue.”
Scott Howell, former Utah Senate Minority Leader and the Democratic candidate who’s vying for Hatch’s seat in the 2012 election says he agrees the tax code needs to be simplified, adding many corporations have avoided paying their fair share of taxes because of loopholes.
“Now everybody wants to jump on the bandwagon and say, 'I’ll do it now, I’ll do it now'. Well for 36 years, Orrin Hatch has never done it and he won’t do it in the future.”
The forum at Zions Bank is one of several events Utah’s senior senator is holding this week. He faces a Republican primary election in late June.