Up until this past December, the U.S. tax code embodied everything that was wrong with big government policies. It was a bloated and outdated obstacle to growth for businesses throughout Florida and the rest of the country. Entrepreneurs wasted countless hours on filing their taxes or they were forced to hire a team of accountants just to figure out how much they owed. Fortunately, Congress got to work and passed a tax reform package that lowered rates and simplified the process greatly. This is truly a victory for the business community in Florida.
As the president of The James Madison Institute, I support policies that are guided by the principles of the U.S. Constitution and which increase economic freedom and individual liberty. We believe that the best government is a limited government and the free markets present the best approach to policymaking.
The James Madison Institute was founded one year after tax reform was enacted in 1986 and, while a major achievement at the time, an overhaul of our tax code was long overdue. The Tax Reform and Jobs Act is a landmark piece of legislation that embodies the principles of the free market and economic freedom. I would like to thank every member of our congressional delegation who made this legislation possible and we are already encouraged by the progress that has been made since its passage.
The benefits of tax reform are already being felt here in Florida. Businesses of all sizes are reporting raises or new investments right here in Florida. Recently, I wrote about the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers that has given its employees raises ranging from 5 percent to 10 percent. I have also seen that Robert and Tracey Moehling, the owners of Robert Is Here Fruit Stand, said that the tax savings is providing their business a cushion should any natural disaster interfere with their business. Overall, optimism among small businesses is at an all-time high and tax reform is undoubtedly a driving factor.
While small businesses are passing along the tax savings to their employees, large corporations are also investing in their clients and workers. Gulf Power has filed a request with the Florida Public Service Commission earlier this year to seek approval to pass along $103 million in tax savings to its 460,000 customers. This would have a tremendous impact to Floridians within their service area and could encourage other providers to follow suit.
Moreover, JP Morgan Chase, with its South U.S. and Latin America offices in Orlando, have announced a $20 billion long-term investment in employees, branch expansion, and local growth right here in Florida. These types of announcements are being made every day by businesses throughout the country and we hope to see that continue as businesses thrive under a streamlined tax code.
President Trump and Congress delivered in a big way on tax reform. Florida’s businesses are hiring more people and investing more in their communities and that is a fantastic thing for everyone. We hope to continue to see the benefits of tax reform come to fruition of the next few years and we would like to thank everyone who made it a reality.
Bob McClure is president and CEO of The James Madison Institute, a conservative, free-market think tank based in Tallahassee, devoted to research and education on public policy issues.