FEEDBACK: Tax reform, auto addiction, digital divide and more
Author: Dan Njegomir - November 9, 2017 - Updated: November 9, 2017
U.S. tax code outdated, uncompetitive
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate budget recently, paving the way for tax reform. Markups have begun in House Ways and Means and changes are already being made to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. While the passage of the budget was a significant step forward in advancing President Trump’s top legislative priority, there are some clear warning signs for businesses anxious to see meaningful tax reform.
As the “Big Six” unveiled the details of the tax plan, it is important to remember historically our tax system has a way of creating winners and losers. The potential changes to various deductions that favor certain industries will bring out passionate and intense lobbying from stakeholders. As lawmakers look to simplify an inefficient and burdensome tax code, many of the exemptions and popular deductions are up for debate. So far, most of the debate has centered on state and local tax deduction (SALT), elimination of the alternative minimum tax (AMT), and the estate tax. Potential changes to 401(K) plans created a firestorm.
This highlights the challenge facing Republicans who understand the importance of tax reform, not only for working families and companies, but their own political future.
As president of the Colorado Business Roundtable, I fully support this once-in-a-generation reform of our outdated, cumbersome, uncompetitive tax code. Colorado workers should keep as much of their hard-earned wages as possible. Lowering the individual rates and providing true middle-class tax relief is central to this administration’s plan. Colorado businesses will benefit from a competitive tax rate.
President, Colorado Business Roundtable
Chair, Colorado for Tax Reform
We must get past our automobile addiction
A recent index of sustainable mobility ranked Denver among the most car-dependent cities in the United States, a statement anyone trying to traverse Denver without a personal vehicle can attest to. While public buses pass by frequently and our light-rail system has been greatly expanded, the problem is far from solved. Public transit often takes much longer than a drive in a personal car, making a new vehicle incredibly tempting. A majority of Denver residents still commute by personal car every day. However, this comes with its own set of problems, including abundant traffic and increased air pollution. The solution cannot be to give everyone their own car.
Instead we must redesign our infrastructure to suit people and communities rather than cars. When one considers the sheer amount of square footage devoted to freeways and parking lots, there is great potential for this space to be put to more fulfilling use.
Living politically means serving your community
There’s upheaval on both sides of the political spectrum. Republican and Democratic leaders are trying to make sense of this past election, reading political tea leaves, predicting where political waves will crash, and appreciating mixed metaphors. They are reaching and grasping for a new identity and vision to ground themselves. The schism within partisan politics is not just dispiriting, but crushingly so. Where is this plateau of common ground whose principle provides perspective?
There is, of course, more to life than politics. This “more” is the everyday values we espouse and seek to live. Our collective values, irrespective of political affiliation, boil down to forming and preserving better community. From the smallest community (the family unit) to the largest (the world population), individuals want constructive communities because those communities are inherently valuable.
The Denver Millennial Political Action Coalition (DenverMPAC) is a non-partisan political action group dedicated to helping Denver’s communities through zero or low-cost activism based initiatives. DenverMPAC was formed to provide a constructive outlet for creating and implementing community service projects; encouraging civic entrepreneurship, and reframing the external/internal Millennial perception.
Belief is something you live with; it’s also something you live from.
Living from our beliefs, we insist, requires an action beyond voting, campaigning, or protesting.
Living politically means to serving your community to improve your community.
Stop by our next meeting, Millennial or not.
Alejandro Vera & Lindsey Rasmussen
Denver Millennial Political Action Coalition (on Facebook)
Federal meddling has only widened the digital divide
Back in 2015, then-President Obama’s FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, issued an edict to heavily regulate the internet as a “public utility” by placing it under Title II of the Federal Communications Act. This antiquated law — put in place to break up early telephone monopolies in the 1920s — was cited as necessary to provide for “net neutrality.” The FCC chose Title II as the regulatory vehicle even though the companies providing our modern telephone communications, i.e., cell phone companies, have not been under the agency´s regulations since 2011. The current regulatory scheme focuses on the equitable distribution of internet speed, as if the internet were a fixed racetrack. As a result, expansion of broadband to rural areas has slowed, and the promise of greater affordability for low-income communities, both rural and urban, has not materialized.
The current FCC chair, Anjit Pai, has worked decisively to remove this misplaced brake on technological innovation and investment. Regulation should be replaced with legislative support. Congress should follow the lead of Western states such as Colorado, Arizona and Utah, which established through legislation smart funding vehicles for the collection and equitable distribution of public and private investment for broadband development to all communities. Colorado´s Congressional delegation should support these reform efforts, and give our rural and urban communities a chance to catch up technologically, and experience the benefits of expanded broadband.
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