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Javier Palomarez is President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 
Javier Palomarez is President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

Hispanic Chamber Endorses Republican Tax Reform

Other Hispanic advocacy groups have slammed the legislation as a victory for the wealthiest Americans and detrimental to the majority of Latinos.

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The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), a prominent Hispanic advocacy group, has voiced support for the polarizing tax reform bill.

Before the Republican-championed bill passed through both chambers of Congress on Dec. 20, USHCC President and CEO Javier Palomarez appeared on Fox News’ “The Story” to voice his support for the largely unpopular piece of legislation.

“Our American small businesses desperately need the help and we’re thrilled that it looks like it might happen,” Palomarez, a Democrat, told host Martha MacCallum. “And I want to urge all of the members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to get behind this tax bill and not pass up this opportunity.”

Palomarez’s comments didn’t sway any of his party members in Congress. Not a single Democratic representative in either chamber voted in favor of the tax reform bill, and neither did 13 Republican members of the House of Representatives.

Critics of the bill say that the legislation, which includes a cut in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, will only benefit the wealthiest Americans while disastrously impacting federal programs that benefit people with lower incomes, such as the Affordable Care Act.

Advocates for the bill say the corporate tax cut will expand economic growth and job opportunities, though it’s a claim that has not resonated with the American public. According to a CNN poll conducted earlier this month, 55 percent of Americans disapprove of the bill while only 33 percent approve.

In a statement released by USHCC after Congress approved the tax reform bill, the group asserted that the legislation will benefit businesses and families. USHCC praised the bill for “provisions such as the additional deduction for pass-through businesses and the increase in the child tax credit.”

“We hope that these reforms will generate economic activity, making our nation stronger,” the statement reads.

Despite the group’s endorsement, USHCC admits that the bill is not perfect, indicating that “the new tax plan also includes several provisions that will create undesired outcomes.” USHCC opposes provisions such as a foreign intellectual property tax that will be imposed on an already struggling Puerto Rico.

“Because Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, imposing foreign taxes on the island is unconstitutional,” the statement reads.

Further, USHCC expressed concern regarding the potential increase in the national deficit that the bill has been projected to cause.

While USHCC has taken an overall favorable stance, UnidosUS, the largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the nation, has fervently denounced the bill. In a statement, UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía called the bill “a historically bad piece of legislation.”

“With its massive and permanent tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest of Americans and tiny and temporary cuts for the vast majority of American families, this bill is not only unconscionable, it is obscene,” Murguía said in the statement.

“The Republican congressional leadership and the administration are treating the very rich to a high-end 'all you can eat' buffet and sticking our families and our kids with the check,” she continued.

UnidosUS argued that up to 70 percent of Latino families with annual incomes of $75,000 or less will pay more in taxes by 2027 while millions could lose health insurance due to skyrocketing healthcare costs.

The organization’s statement also says the increase in the national debt caused by the bill “will likely trigger draconian cuts to essential programs like Medicare, Medicaid and SNAP, which helped lift 6.3 million Latinos, including three million Latino children, out of poverty in 2015.”

“This Republican-led Congress and the administration have truly put our country's future at risk and they have only themselves to blame for the consequences of their foolish actions,” Murguía said in the statement. “Our community will forget neither the devastating impact of this bill nor who traded our future for their narrow self-interest.”

Jennifer Rodríguez is President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GPHCC). Speaking on her own behalf and not that of GPHCC, Rodríguez said USHCC’s support “seems to be geared toward larger Latino-owned businesses.”

“What we have here in the city of Philadelphia are micro-businesses,” Rodríguez said.

The GPHCC president said it is her understanding that the tax cuts included in the bill will disproportionately benefit large companies while creating few if any advantages for corner store owners, hairdressers, eateries and other “Main Street” businesses common in the Philadelphia area’s Latino community.

USHCC’s decision may seem curious to many, especially considering the volatile relationship that Palomarez has had with Donald Trump’s administration. In September, Palomarez resigned from the president’s National Diversity Coalition (NDC) after Trump’s decision to cancel Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). However, it should be noted that members of Trump's NDC have claimed that Palomarez never served in the group.

During his Fox News segment, Palomarez took a more congratulatory approach to the president. He praised the American financial climate under Trump, noting a national economic growth rate of 3 percent.

“That is obviously great news for American business,” Palomarez said.  

Palomarez told MacCallum he doesn’t agree with everything the president does, but on the tax reform issue, he “could not agree more.”

“This is a good tax bill,” Palomarez said. “This is good for American business. It’s good for the American economy and it’s good for the American people. We need to get behind this thing.”

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