Fiorina: Regulations ‘choking the entrepreneurial life’ out of economy

“The thicket of regulation and taxation is literally in my view... choking the entrepreneurial life out of our economy,” she said.

Fiorina, the first woman to head a Fortune 20 company, ran Hewlett Packard for six years.

She said large businesses are much better able to navigate the tax code and the growing number of regulations on the books. They have the resources to hire lawyers, compliance officers and consultants to minimize the Washington’s impact on their bottom line — and sometimes manipulate complicated rules to their advantage, she said.

Small companies have no such luxuries, Fiorina said.

“Too many are just giving up,” she said.

Fiorina called for a “radical" simplification of tax laws, including the closure of all loopholes. She lauded the efforts of Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Orrin Hatch, who are working in the Senate Finance Committee on a plan to overhaul the tax code.

She urged passage of the immigration bill, and the adoption of a zero-based federal budgeting system under which agencies would be required to justify all of their spending.

She also called for the creation of a task force made up of small business owners, who would review all existing regulations and make recommendations about which should be scrapped.

Fiorina, a Republican, was unsuccessful in her 2010 bid to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). She has since moved to Virginia, and said Monday that she had not ruled out another run for public office.