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Letter to the editor: Washington needs to enact meaningful tax reform

As vice chairman of the House Tax and Finance Committee, I’ve worked to ensure that our state’s tax structure remains both simple and affordable. Keeping existing businesses in and attracting new ones to North Dakota is a top priority of mine as your voice in Bismarck. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made to lower taxes, which has allowed North Dakotans to keep more of what we earn in our own pockets.

It’s long past time for Washington to follow North Dakota’s lead by enacting meaningful, comprehensive tax reform. Critical to that goal is a reduction in America’s corporate income tax rate, which is currently a whopping 10 points higher than the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development average of 25 percent. While North Dakota leads all but one of our 49 interstate competitors with the second-lowest corporate income tax rate, America continues to fall behind all of our global competitors with the highest in the industrialized world.

Despite Bismarck’s boldness in fostering a business tax system that works for our state, Washington’s failure to reduce the rate continues to cost North Dakota families. Together with an estimated -1.23 percent long-term impact to our wages, North Dakota’s GDP fell $900 million short of where it should have been in 2013 alone. Nationally, our GDP is already down more than $320 billion and our wages are set to fall by -1.20 percent.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. And, amid this once-in-a-generation opportunity to finally tackle tax reform, we can’t let it.

In a glimpse of what could be, an analysis conducted by the Tax Foundation found that our GDP and wages would increase by 4.3 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively, simply by lowering America’s corporate income tax rate to the level enjoyed just on the other side of our state’s northern border.

President Trump’s visit this week was an encouraging acknowledgement of the efforts we’ve undertaken to boost economic growth. Congress must now “discover the spirit” of North Dakota by reforming the federal tax code into one that works for — not against — our prosperity.

Headland, a Republican, represents District 29

in the North Dakota Legislature.