Business Matters Fall 2018 - Page 33

Access to Capital Immigration Reform Short term loans, community banks and alternative financial services providers are importation financial resources for businesses and consumers. Expanding credit and capital options will continue to be an important aspect of supporting small, diverse and emerging businesses in creating jobs and economic growth. The Chamber supports federal immigration reforms that are fair and reasonable. Principles we support are: • • International Tr a d e & C o m m e r c e The Chamber is committed to supporting international free trade efforts, which will help level the playing field by increasing competition, making it easier for small businesses to sell their goods, and creating opportunities for entrepreneurs to expand operations at home and abroad. North American Free Trade Agreement. The Chamber supports modernizing NAFTA to reflect the needs of American workers and boost the export of U.S. goods and services. Almost 1 million Texas jobs depend on trade with Mexico and Canada and in 2017 Texas exported $97 billion in goods and services to Mexico and $22 billion to Canada. Tariffs. According to US Census data, Texas accounted for more than $8.3 billion in steel and aluminum imports last year, which is more than double any other state. These steel and aluminum imports are crucial for the construction and maintenance of drilling wells, pipelines, and other infrastructure that are the backbone of our oil and gas industry. The construction of significant portions of this infrastructure depends on certain types of steel for which there is no U.S. manufacturer, and industry experts estimate that new tariffs will dramatically increase the cost of completing wells in shale formations and building more LNG production lines. In addition to the new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the tariffs set to go in to effect on roughly $50 billion worth of foreign goods beginning this summer and China’s retaliatory tariffs also threaten the economy of Texas. In 2017, Texas exported more than $8 billion of tariff eligible goods to China, the most of any state. About $1 billion of this was agricultural products, including 46 percent of all US cotton exported to China, 25 percent of exported sorghum, 13.2 percent of exported beef and veal, and 3.3 percent of exported wheat. If 25 percent tariffs are levied on these agricultural products, Texas farmers will be significantly impacted. While we recognize that certain Chinese practices with respect ot technology transfer, intellectual property, and market access must change- these issues can be addressed in an atmosphere of mutual respect. The Chamber opposes any barriers that would prevent our members from staying competitive in a global economy, and result in a net loss for the economic health of region. • • the development of a simple and secure system for employers to verify employment eligibility and holding businesses that are not compliant accountable; increasing opportunities for immigrants to enter the U.S. workforce, and for foreign students to stay in the U.S. to work in order to attract and keep the best brightest and strengthen our economy; create a streamlined process by which employers can get the seasonal and permanent employees they need including access to J1 visa holders, when Americans aren’t filling vacant jobs; establishing a path to legal status for the undocumented currently living in the US with requirements such as registering with the federal government, paying taxes and following all laws; and strengthen federal, state, and local and employer sponsored programs that offer English language, civics and educational classes to immigrants. DACA. The Chamber supports a legislative solution that allows DREAMers to stay in the United States as productive residents. Health Insurance Reform Affordable Care Act. Support policies that will create a patient- centered health care system that grants authority to states in how they regulate their insurance markets, and restore the traditional definition of full-time employment to 40 hours per week for the ACA’s employer mandate. ​ Health Insurance Tax. The Chamber opposes the health insurance tax (commonly called the HIT) which will raise premiums for individuals, families, small businesses, and seniors. In 2018 alone, the health insurance tax would result in premium increases ranging from $158 per person in the individual market and $540 per family in the large group market to $245 for Medicare Advantage members and $181 for Medicaid managed care enrollees. Mental Health and Substance Abuse. Untreated mental illness and substance use disorders cost business owners in increased workers comp claims, lost time, reduced productivity and higher utilization of physical medicine. The Chamber supports FY 2018 funding for all mental health and substance abuse programs as well as Medicaid and other coverage for people living with mental illness and addiction. We support the Expand Excellence in Mental Health Act and the Strengthening Addiction Treatment Workforce Act. ​ Affordable Housing The Chamber supports continued funding and opposes further cuts to Community Development Block Grants and the HOME program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Due to the Harbor Bridge relocation, industrial growth in San Patricio County and storm recovery housing needs, there is a massive affordable housing shortage in the region. 602 N STAPLES STREET, STE. 150 CORPUS CHRISTI, TX 78401 +1 (361) 881-1800 GINNY@UNITEDCORPUSCHRISTICHAMBER.COM