On Monday, key business and community leaders filled the ballroom at the Embassy Suites by Hilton San Antonio Riverwalk Downtown for a much-anticipated address by U.S Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX-8), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Many consider Chairman Brady to hold one of the most powerful leadership positions in Congress with oversight of tax policy, social security, healthcare, trade and government assistance programs.
Chairman Brady opened his remarks by giving a nod to our Chairman of the Board Shaun Kennedy and President and CEO Richard Perez for their leadership and constructive engagement with congressional leaders on key business priorities. He acknowledged the strong advocacy efforts of the SA to DC trip with an impressive showing of more than 175 participants this year.
Brady laid out the two goals he had when developing the blueprint for bold pro-growth tax reform. The first was to develop a tax code “built for growth, specifically to grow jobs, wages and the U.S economy”. The second goal was to help develop a competitive tax code to leapfrog America from being ranked 31st (out of 35 countries) to one of the top among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) countries for a competitive tax code.
Being one of the foremost champions of pro-growth legislation, Brady applauded the work of Congress and the President on tax reform, acknowledging that we got the fundamentals of tax reform right. “Texas will create 81,000 good paying jobs because of the tax bill,” Brady said and highlighted the two winners of tax reform – families and businesses. He emphasized how the tax bill will lower rates for small businesses that file under the individual rate and allow them to make new investments in their business. Continuing on the impact of tax reform, he touched on the businesses that rewarded their employees with a bonus or raise because of the tax bill.
Brady concluded his remarks with an update on the current NAFTA negotiations mentioning, “We have made good progress with negotiations” and that he is optimistic we will have a new modernized and updated NAFTA. He also said he was encouraged by the progress made with discussions about energy, intellectual property and telecommunications, industries that were not included in the original agreement. Brady encouraged business leaders in the room to continue to stay engaged on the issue of international trade and tax reform as Congress continues to make improvements.
The Chamber organized a small roundtable discussion on NAFTA with the Chairman following the luncheon, where the business community, Bexar County, and City of San Antonio emphasized the importance of trade to our local economy. We will continue to advocate for maintaining strong trade agreements with our important trading partners to the north and south.