Me honro dirigir un mensaje en la reciente Expo Canacintra en Hermosillo, con el tema “Mujeres y Liderazgo”. La expo presento un foro acerca de empresas de mujeres, con exitosas emprendedoras que discutieron sus caminos al éxito. Muchas contaron historias acerca del apoyo que les dieron sus familias cuando lanzaron sus negocios, mientras que otras hablaron acerca de negocios iniciados en sus casas mientras criaban a sus hijos. Fue inspirador escuchar tales historias de mujeres empresarias tan exitosas en Sonora.
La variedad de industrias resulto también muy interesante. El panel en el cual participe incluyo una mujer que tiene cinco pastelerías en Hermosillo, a la lideresa de una asociación minera, y a la Presidenta de una gran compañía offshore. Cada una rompió barreras en su industria. Varias mujeres en mi panel y en otros, exportan sus productos o servicios a Estados Unidos ya. Me enorgulleció representar organizaciones empresariales en el foro y discutir las actuales negociaciones relativas al TLC y las relaciones Estados Unidos-México.
Durante el panel, remarque la importancia de la relación económica entre Arizona y Sonora. El comercio bilateral entre Arizona y México excede los US $17 B por año y más de 110,000 empleos en Arizona dependen de ese comercio con México. Explique que nuestra Cámara Hispana de Tucson ha estado apoyando un TLC mejorado que plantee un ganar-ganar para nuestros tres países en América del Norte. Aunque muchas de las mujeres en la audiencia tienen vínculos estrechos y frecuentemente visitan Arizona, quise enfatizar el valor del comercio y las relaciones de negocios para todas nuestras industrias.
También hable acerca del hecho de que los negocios propiedad de latinas constituyen el segmento empresarial de más rápido crecimiento en Estados Unidos y estaban cruzando umbrales en muchas industrias previamente dominadas por hombres. Los negocios propiedad de mujeres en Sonora esta también aumentando dramáticamente. Mi propia experiencia como propietaria de una cadena de estaciones de gasolina es un buen ejemplo. Comencé con una estación de gasolina en Tucson y lleve la cadena a seis estaciones al comenzar los 2000’s. Entonces, que yo supiera, era la única latina en el negocio y serví en juntas directivas nacionales representando a la industria. En el panel anime a la mujeres a no tener miedo de tomar roles de liderazgo en grupos de negocios e industriales que han sido históricamente dominados por hombres. Las otras mujeres en el panel concordaron. Hablaron de ser la “primera” mujer en grupos industriales en Hermosillo. He tenido experiencias similares en Arizona. También alenté a mujeres líderes a abrir la puerta para otras mujeres y diversificar a los grupos y directivas con influencia en sus comunidades.
Finalmente, nuestro panel fue requerido a identificar nuestras fortalezas y discutir cómo nos llevaron al éxito en nuestras carreras. Hable acerca de mi confianza al perseguir nuevas oportunidades y no auto limitarme. Otras en el panel hablaron de estar preparadas y tomar riesgos cuando se lanza una empresa. El foro de Mujeres de Canacintra fue un gran éxito, y nuestra cámara se prepara para ser anfitrión de una delegación de mujeres de negocios de Sonora el 15 de Marzo, en nuestro Head over Heels: Southern Arizona Women’s Business Conference en Tucson.
Lea Marquez Peterson
My father was skeptical when he first heard about the nation’s tax reform debate. He’s a Democrat now but also a former Reagan Republican who lived through the modification of the tax deduction changes of the 1980’s. As a retired business man in his 70’s, he scoffed at the idea that Congress could take action that would serve individuals while also while also reducing taxes on corporate America.
I argued that we face a one-in-a-generation chance to conduct tax reform. If we do it right, it could be one of the single most important steps to driving economic growth for our country. As a chamber President, I work daily with businesses from all industries who could gain from significant tax reform. Simplifying and clarifying our tax system for businesses would go a long way in stimulating investment and new hires in our country. Similarly, American workforce and future workers could better understand and plan with a simplified, equitable tax system.
I asked my father to consider the size of the current tax code and indicated with my hands that the “code” printed out would stand almost one foot tall. “Doing your taxes” on your own was impossible today and even the middle class and working class needed to hire an accountant or use a software program to decipher their income taxes. The simplification and overhaul of our tax code would go along way in enabling American companies to compete globally while providing clarity to American’s workers.
My father acknowledged that successful tax reform would likely initiate a cash inflow from companies and investment from abroad. He’d read the stories over the last three decades of companies moving their assets and funds to other countries due to our nation’s corporate income tax rate. Now key players in Congress are working on comprehensive reform that would lower the tax rates for all U.S businesses while adopting an internationally competitive system that would not tax them twice on their overseas earnings. This would make U.S businesses globally competitive and provide a disincentive to move their businesses overseas. I also explained that many businesses – large and small – were supportive of immediate depreciation on their business investments, another key component of comprehensive tax reform. This would also stimulate the economy as businesses reinvested in their machinery and equipment.
The process of overhauling our tax code is complicated and controversial. However, failure to provide significant reform could weaken our economy and make U.S firms less competitive globally. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which passed the House last week will reduce the tax rate on the hard-earned business income to the lowest tax rate on small business income since World War II. Our nation is slowly recovering from the recent economic recession. Our businesses need permanency and clarity in our tax code, not the mountain of paperwork and loopholes in the tax system now that are hard to decipher.
My father and I will continue our debate as Congress works through the details, but I am optimistic that the work being done by Congress on tax reform will provide the needed relief for individuals while also serving the needs of our small businesses in Arizona.
Lea Marquez Peterson is the President/CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber and is a Public Voices Fellow.
As the President of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber, I’ve seen firsthand that our current tax code places a stifling burden on local employers, disproportionately harming the Hispanic community, the fastest growing business segment in the nation.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, startup activity has slumped in the 2000s--even after the Great Recession was over. In spite of this difficult economic environment, the Hispanic community has managed to start new businesses at an impressive rate, 50 times faster than any other demographic group in the United States, according to this study from the Georgetown Public Policy review. This is not a new trend. The five-year average growth rate in the number of Hispanic-owned businesses has remained at double or triple that of the national average for the past 15 years, according to the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative.
Small businesses cannot compete globally when they are taxed as high as 44.6 percent. They face compliance costs that tear their time and their resources away from what they want to do: their job.
America’s job creators now spend an estimated 2.8 billion hours each year filing business income tax returns.
The result? Uncertainty.
Businesses cannot plan for the future, save, or make long term investments when they don’t know how much they will pay in taxes. Local employers wish they could serve more customers, pay more wages, and hire more people—but Washington is fighting against them and a healthy economy.
As a chamber President, I work daily with businesses from all industries who could gain from significant tax reform. Simplifying and clarifying our tax system for businesses would go a long way in stimulating investment and providing business owners the ability to hire more people throughout our country. Similarly, the American workforce and future workers could better understand and plan with a simplified, equitable tax system.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which passed the House this week will reduce the tax rate on the hard-earned business income to the lowest tax rate on small business income since World War II. It even provides a new, low tax rate of 9 percent for businesses earning less than $75,000 in income to help microbusiness startups that fuel innovation and job creation in communities across the country.
Many businesses throughout Southern Arizona fall within this income range. This bill establishes strong safeguards to distinguish between individual wage income and “pass-through” business income so tax relief goes to the local job creators it was designed to help most. This would have an immediate impact in Southern Arizona and assist our businesses in finding the cash flow to hire new employees and to focus on revenue growth.
A specific provision of the Act allows small employers to immediately write off the full cost of new equipment such as computers, vehicles and machinery to improve operations and enhance the skills of their workers. It also protects the ability to write off the interest on business loans that help them start or expand a business, hire workers, and increase paychecks. Arizona ranks among the top five states for Hispanic-owned small business loan applications. This provision will help small business owners throughout our country as well as the more than 120,000 Hispanic owned small businesses in Arizona.
We face a once-in-a-generation chance to reform our complicated tax system. Our current tax code makes it harder to start a business, to create jobs and to maintain adequate cash flow to grow our revenues. If we do it right, it could be one of the single most important steps to driving economic growth for our country.
The House’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will help our local economy and the business climate in Southern Arizona. We appreciate Congresswoman Martha McSally’s support of this important issue and encourage all of our lawmakers to support tax reform.
Lea Márquez Peterson is president and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a public voices fellow with The OpEd Project.
Welcome to the Tucson Hispanic Chamber Blog Page.
Our goal is to help member companies grow and prosper. We work to achieve this goal by advocating a pro-business agenda in Tucson and connecting members with business leaders and policy makers. How? With Networking & educational events, and online initiatives — like this blog.