IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- On November 11, California business owners, CPAs and financial advisors gathered for an exclusive Post-Election Economic, Legislative & Policy Update co-hosted by the Ben Franklin Forum and alliantgroup, a leading tax consultancy and the nation's premier provider of government-sponsored tax credits and incentives. The early morning event included presentations from former IRS Commissioner and alliantgroup Vice Chairman Mark W. Everson, former Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and alliantgroup National Managing Director Dean Zerbe, and alliantgroup Executive Vice President Sonny Grover. Held days after the 2016 election, the event covered a number of topics with regards to legislative and tax policy and how the results of the election would impact these specific areas going forward.
After an initial presentation by Grover on a number of under-claimed tax incentives—and how alliantgroup's services can help businesses identify and claim these incentives—Everson and Zerbe followed up with their post-election analysis. Everson began his presentation by discussing the reasons for and implications of the surprising results of the presidential election, highlighting the success of the Trump campaign's populace and anti-establishment message in attracting rural white voters. Noting a difference in the electoral map with regards to the coasts and the rest of the country, Everson alluded to not only the economic struggles of the rural white working class, but of cultural differences among older voters feeling that the country had changed too quickly over time as driving factors in the election. Referencing several personal anecdotes with voters, Everson surmised that economic and cultural anxieties, as well as anger with the status quo and the political establishment, played a large role in determining the final election results.
"It was a vote of desperation," said Everson. "Until both sides of the aisle face that fact and begin to operate differently, we will have this dynamic and it will have very real ramifications."
Moving from election analysis to its ultimate implications, Everson and Zerbe described the results of the election as game-changing in terms of tax policy and in determining the direction of the country over the next few years. With the electorate clearly frustrated with political gridlock in Washington, and with one party in control of the White House as well as having majorities in the House and Senate, the presenters discussed a major opportunity before the GOP to push much of their economic agenda forward. Specifically, Zerbe was optimistic that a bipartisan deal on tax reform could be reached within the next six months due to its strong support among congressional GOP leadership and the willingness of incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to find common ground. According to Zerbe, it was because of Schumer's efforts that the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, a major tax deal passed at the end of last year that extended or made permanent a number of pro-growth initiatives, saw the light of day. Due to the makeup of the incoming Congress, an electorate hungry for bipartisan action and the political capital that comes with a new administration during its first year in office, Zerbe expressed his optimism for a path forward on tax reform.
"Schumer I think will do a lot to change the current climate," said Zerbe. "It won't be at all times or on all issues. There will be areas where people just disagree, but on taxes and other issues, they'll work on a bipartisan basis."
Digging deeper into the details of what tax reform might look like, Zerbe implored the audience to examine closely the ideas put out by the House Ways and Means Committee and the bipartisan plans laid out by the Senate Finance Committee's tax working groups. Among the provisions to potentially be included in broader tax legislation would be a reduction of the ordinary income top rates down to 33 percent, slashing the corporate tax rate down to 28 percent and the removal of the Affordable Care Act's tax raising provisions.
"I would like to thank the Ben Franklin Forum and everyone who took the time to attend this event," said Grover. "Our goal in hosting these conferences is to provide both businesses and our CPA partners with the information they need to stay ahead of emerging economic and policy trends. It is our hope that by doing so, we are offering a path to ensure their continued success."
alliantgroup's mission is one of education and awareness—we exist to help industry organizations, U.S. businesses and the CPA firms that advise them, take full advantage of all federal and state tax credits, incentives and deductions available to them. Our government has legislated these powerful incentive programs to help businesses grow and successfully compete both in the U.S. and abroad. We are proud to have helped over 20,000 businesses claim more than $5 billion in tax incentives. alliantgroup's headquarters is in Houston, Texas, with offices across the country including New York, Boston, Chicago, Orange County, Sacramento, Orlando, Indianapolis and Washington, D.C.
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