Ryan pitches tax reform to Ohio business leaders

Ryan pitches tax reform to Ohio business leaders
© Greg Nash

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate Krystal Ball touts Sanders odds in Texas MORE (R-Wis.) on Wednesday pitched tax reform at an event with Ohio business leaders, arguing that it’s important in order to boost domestic manufacturing.

“We have a tax system that penalizes job creation, economic growth, saving," Ryan said at a roundtable at a New Albany, Ohio, contract packaging business. “We want to fix that so we have more of the things we need in this country: More risk-taking, more job creation, more businesses being built and more manufacturing occurring in America.”

Tax reform is one of the top agenda items for congressional Republicans and President Trump this year. Ryan said House GOP lawmakers “completely agree with” the tax reform principles that the White House released last month.

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The Speaker said he wants to “clean out the tax code to make it really easy and simple to comply with, and lower people’s tax rates so that they can keep more of their hard-earned money.”

He also argued that it’s hard for American businesses to compete with foreign businesses because the U.S. taxes companies at higher rates.

“This is why we’ve got to get tax reform,” Ryan said.

Ohio Reps. Pat Tiberi (R) and Steve Stivers (R) also attended the roundtable.

“Our first job has to be getting tax reform done,” Stivers said.

Tiberi, a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said that tax reform is a “piece of a larger pie” to get more Americans to take risks and start businesses.

Ryan’s opening remarks at Wednesday’s roundtable didn’t explicitly mention the border-adjustment tax that is a part of the tax reform blueprint House Republicans released last year. The proposal would subject imports to U.S. tax while exempting exports.

Ryan and other supporters of the tax have argued in the past that the provision would help to end incentives for companies to move jobs overseas. But retailers and some lawmakers have expressed concerns that it would result in higher prices on products. Ryan has said that lawmakers are working to modify the proposal so that it doesn’t put retailers at a large disadvantage.

Ahead of the event, a coalition of retailers called Americans for Affordable Products ran a full-page ad in The Columbus Dispatch urging people to tell Ryan to drop the border-adjustment tax. The group argued that the tax would jeopardize jobs in Ohio and force families to pay more for consumer goods.

Ryan also did not address what he thought about Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey. The Speaker is expected to discuss that issue in a Fox News interview later in the day.