At a roundtable hosted by Chamber630 and featuring Congressman Peter Roskam, approximately 25 business leaders discussed the state of play in Congress and issues of importance to west suburban and Downers Grove firms. Building on incremental successes from late last year, Congressman Roskam made the case that 2017 could be the year fundamental tax reform might finally come to fruition — regardless of who wins the Presidency. Those in attendance agreed that the tax code is too complex, and anti-competitive.
Another major topic of conversation was the importance of protecting intellectual property (IPY rights to spurring American innovation. In Illinois alone, nearly 3 million people are employed in IP-intensive fields, and their wages are 25% higher than their peers in other sectors. One way we can enshrine high IP standards is by negotiating for them in our trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), argued Jared Parks of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center, who was also on hand. Roskam agreed with the importance of opening markets for U.S. exporters to the 95 percent of potential consumers who live beyond our shores, and voted last year for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), a consultative provision that allowed the President to conclude negotations on the TPP. The President, Congress and the business community still have some work to do in educating the public on the benefits of TPP, which requires Congressional approval before it can go into effect.
Finally, Congressman Roskam was awarded the U.S. Chamber’s prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Award for his pro-growth votes last year. In addition to TPA, Roskam voted for a new K-12 education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, a cybersecurity bill, and several tax measures that rolled back or delayed onerous tax hikes on employers. During his tenure in Congress, Roskam has amassed a 90 percent voting record with the U.S. Chamber.