COBRT President Jeff Wasden was in Washington, DC last week with State Business Roundtable Executives (SBRE). Governor Engler, former President and CEO of the Business Roundtable retired recently so this was the first opportunity for the state roundtable executives to meet the new President and CEO, Joshua Bolten. President Bolten has extensive policy background and served as a former Chief of Staff under the Bush administration.
The conference started with a reception at Pepco Edison Place Gallery, followed by a sponsored dinner by the BRT. Goldman Sachs gave a fascinating presentation on the national political outlook, going so far as to have analyzed President Trump’s tweets and possible impact to business (FYI, Tuesday has the highest number of business tweets). Jones Day hosted the next day and shared their presentation on “U.S. Business Outlook in the New Administration: Navigating a Changing Landscape."
Matt Miller, Vice President of BRT, and Matt Sonnesyn, Vice President of BRT gave policy updates on tax reform and infrastructure. Within the Business Roundtable membership, there is a split on tax reform as large exporters such as Boeing and GE support exploring a Border Adjustment Tax while retailers within the Business Roundtable such as Walmart and Target are opposed. Traditional tax reform has always looked at lowering rates, broadening the base and removing deductions and there are some that would like to stick to the tried and true, tested formula. Parameters around pass through organizations, expensing, dividends, and rates will be the focus of much debate, as will any change toward a territorial system.
Business Roundtable supports infrastructure investment that supports and strengthens the user pay model, unlocks the full potential of private investment, invests for maximum impact, puts smart regulation to work, accelerates innovation and comes with a plan to maintain current system and improvements. Our infrastructure system incorporates not only our transportation system, but also airways, water and the electric grid. Policy work needs to be done around reforming permitting process and public private partnership legislation.
Colorado will be hosting the State Business Roundtable Executives in September this year as we continue to focus on our reach, impact, and relationships.