Among those in attendance included former Alabama Governor Bob Riley, former Missouri Governor Kit Bond, former U.S. congressmen Jim Ramstad and Rick Lazio, former Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee Dean Zerbe, and former IRS commissioners Mark W. Everson and Steven Miller.
On the second day of the event, Senator Coons gave the keynote address, covering a broad range of topics on the minds of CPAs and businesses in an open “town hall” style session. The senator focused heavily on economic issues, discussing at length the major challenges facing both entrepreneurs and the nation’s small and mid-sized businesses in their ability to thrive in the face of growing global competition. Drawing on his own personal experience as the son of a small business owner and as the in-house counsel for his stepfather’s company, Senator Coons expressed his admiration for those willing to take the risk of starting their own business, tying that entrepreneurial spirit to the historical success of the American economy.
“The folks that have most excited me in my life in the private sector, in the public sector and in the nonprofit sector are the Americans that have more courage than I do because they go and start small businesses,” said Coons.
The senator further elaborated on the vital role that small and mid-sized businesses play in shaping broader U.S. economic performance. Noting that small and mid-sized companies are traditionally the greatest contributors to job growth, innovation and overall competitiveness, Coons emphasized the importance of creating a business environment more conducive to their success.
“We give all these great speeches on the floor of the Senate about small business, and how proud we are of small business and how excited we are about it,” said Coons. “But if you start a small business, the chances that you are going to fail is about 80 to 90 percent, and the advice you get from your CPA and your ability to access capital are absolutely essential things that determine if you succeed and thrive, or join the large heap of Americans that have tried something big and bold, but in the end have to go on to something else.”
Seeking to reverse this trend and to also address the flight of American jobs to foreign shores, Senator Coons highlighted the importance of Congress to work together to find bipartisan solutions to very real challenges facing the nation. Specifically, the senator referenced last December’s permanent extension and expansion of the R&D Tax Credit as an example of the kind of smart, bipartisan fiscal policy that can be achieved when both political parties work in the interest of the American people.
“If you listen to each other hard enough, work together hard enough, you can get things like this done,” said Coons. “The only reason this R&D Tax Credit extension against AMT and against your W-2 or payroll tax liability got done was a whole lot of listening.”
Through its ThinkTank series, alliantgroup strives to provide thought leadership to its partner CPA firms and the businesses they serve. For a full recap of the event, please click the link below: