May 28 letters

May 28, 2014

Is our corporate tax code our economy’s worst enemy?

To the editor:

Our extremely outdated tax code has kept us from starting a real (privately funded) stimulus program that would create a huge increase in jobs as well as a major increase in industry within our own borders. The action I describe below combined with a fast track to energy independence could cause economic growth like we haven’t seen for many years.

American companies have been forced to leave profits earned overseas sitting in banks outside the U.S.  The total of these funds are being reported to exceed $1.3 trillion, from only 66 companies.  As it stands now, if the companies bring those funds home to invest in America, the US federal tax on those funds would be in the area of 40 percent.  As a result, the funds stay out of our economy.  If we would allow these companies to bring these monies home with a drastically reduced tax rate and an agreement that the companies would use a great portion of this money to invest in the expansion of their companies and work force, it would result in a massive privately funded stimulus instead of one funded by debt that is borrowed from future generations.  An accelerated depreciation schedule should be offered to encourage the purchase of industrial equipment, computer systems and company infrastructure.  This would be an actual stimulus to the economy as well as create thousands of jobs. If these companies were given the opportunity to bring the money home with a onetime 10 percent tax, it would not only spur the economy, increasing dividends to shareholders and consequently retirement funds, but would also create $130 billion dollars in government revenue which should be earmarked to reduce the national debt.

Would we prefer $130 billion in U.S. debt reduction or leave the money invested in the European economy, helping them to make us even less competitive?

Bruce Gardner

Waynesville

Editorial on tourism study was off-base

To the editor:

This is in regard to your editorial May 23, “Reputable think tank muffed tourist tax study.”

You characterize the John Locke Foundation (JLF) study on occupancy taxes in Haywood County as being “anti-business,” and Rep. Presnell’s position on the issue is characterized as “obstructionist.”

I do not presume to speak for JLF though I am familiar with their stance on this issue.  I also bring to this discussion personal experience from prior service  with the Jackson County Travel and Tourist Authority.

For JLF, the primary issue is obviously the role of government.  Your editorial quotes from  JLF’s tax study: “Taxation is justified only for necessary purposes of government.  Tourism promotion is not a necessary function of government . . .”

The tourism industry in Haywood or any other jurisdiction is free to use its financial resources as it sees fit to advertise and promote its facilities and services.  Chambers of Commerce and various trade organizations are examples of associations in which businesses are free to join or avoid.  However accommodation /tourist taxes compel certain businesses, usually motels and short term cottage rentals, to collect the tax.  How the collected tax money is spent is another matter.

My experience in Jackson County reinforced my conclusion that politics, where the most powerful factions control the money, can not be removed from the process.  I have no reason to believe it is different in Haywood.  Accommodation owners who disagree still have to collect  the taxes or face fines and penalties.

This is why the issue of the proper function of government is so important.

To point out such issues is not to be anti-business.  It is a recognition that business prospers best when its entanglements with government are minimal.

As for Rep. Presnell being an obstructionist:  I also do not presume to speak for her either, though I am familiar with her concerns in increasing an occupancy tax. She has made many efforts to talk with persons in our community about this issue.   To express reservations or ask questions about a tax increase is not obstructionist.  It is good government.

Kirkwood Callahan

Waynesville