Vice President Mike Pence and Gov. Rick Scott found widespread support among a dozen or so business owners gathered in an Orlando factory Thursday for the kinds of tax cuts President Donald Trump is pushing in Washington.

Members of the business roundtable assembled to meet with Pence at the Correct Craft factory that makes Nautique and other recreational boats, Pence asked: “How important would reducing taxes be to your business?”

Plenty important, they all agreed.

The roundtable group, which included a variety of business owners such as Orlando consultant and lobbyist Bertica Cabrera Morris and former Orange County Clerk of Courts Eddie Fernandez, who now has a private law practice, lauded the prospects of tax reform for their businesses. Many charged that overtaxation has put some of their friends out of business. And assured that they would share any tax savings benefits they received with their employees.

Pence was in town Thursday to give the keynote speech to the Republican Party of Florida’s state conference Statesman Dinner. But he also was on tour to solicit and demonstrate support for the tax reform package that the Trump administration is finally unveiling, backed by a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday, and another expected to drop in the U.S. Senate on Monday.

Pence pushed the plan several times as one that will help “working families, small businesses, and family farms,” an assessment that will be central to whether Congress and the American people buy it. The plan would reduce the tax code to four brackets of 12, 25, 35 and 39.6 percent, eliminate the estate tax by 2024, increase child care tax credits, but eliminate deductions for state and local taxes.

Yet Pence and Scott also made it clear that the intentions were focused on corporations and business owners, the “jobs creators,’ a point driven home by the plan’s marquee reductions, of the maximum corporate tax to 20 percent, and the maximum “pass through” tax paid by many small business owners to 25 percent.

“It’s the jobs creators that are here today that we feel the greatest debt to, men and women that put their resources and time on the line to create opportunities,” Pence said.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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