This past year changed almost every American’s way of life, particularly for the millions of small businesses that power our economy and create jobs in our communities.

Here in South Texas, we know how important small businesses are to our local economy. In Hidalgo County alone, up to one in seven people are self-employed, not to mention the family and community members who rely on them and their businesses.

The Rio Grande Valley Partnership understands the importance of private capital investment in our communities and how it bolsters economic development. That’s why, as proposals and ongoing discussions are underway to rebuild America’s economy and network of infrastructure, we urge our federal legislators to prioritize investment and growth – not crippling tax increases that would hurt Main Street America, including our communities here in the Rio Grande Valley.

Our small businesses and communities would not thrive without the investments that allow entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground, grow, and hire new workers. But one troubling proposal under discussion in Washington would put those investments at risk by making a major change to our nation’s tax code. New proposals targeting carried interest (H.R. 1068 & S.1598) would amount to a tax on small business investments. Rather than incentivizing investment in mom-and-pop businesses and entrepreneurs, this change would make it much more challenging to invest in small businesses in the Rio Grande Valley and elsewhere. Now is not the time to impose new financial burdens that discourage investment and growth in South Texas.

As Cliffe Killam, a partner at Killam Development, said: “Small businesses are struggling to survive during this critical recovery period, and higher taxes would severely weaken their immune system and potentially put them on life support, which is an untenable position.”

As a region that covers part of the U.S.-Mexico border as well as part of the Gulf Coast, we recognize the crucial role this area plays in the Texas and American economy. That is why we give our members the resources and education they need to grow their businesses and well-position our region for future jobs and development.

We support policies and business practices that encourage entrepreneurship and expand our economy. Our congressional champions like Congressman Henry Cuellar, Congressman Vela and Congressman Vicente Gonzalez understand this and stand with us to encourage investment in our border region.

As a strong supporter of entrepreneurship in our communities, we feel compelled to advocate for our fellow Texans and express our opposition to the small business investment tax.

These investments play an immense role in our economy. As we work to recover from the economic pain caused by COVID-19, we should support – not discourage – small business investments. Now is the time to bolster our local businesses, not discourage private capital from taking the necessary risks to help them grow.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Sergio Contreras, president and CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership, the RGV’s regional chamber of commerce. The column appears in The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service with the permission of the author. Contreras can be reached by email via: [email protected].

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