Luddy takes the stage at CPAC as conservatives celebrate tax cuts

People wait for the start of the second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Oxon Hill, MD – Tax reform leads as a one of the most highly anticipated topics at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference as conservatives celebrate the Tax Cut and Jobs Act signed into law in December.   The annual CPAC event draws conservatives, policy experts and industry leaders from across the nation to discuss a wide variety of issues, particularly as the 2018 midterms loom. Hosted by the American Conservative Union, CPAC runs from February 21st through 24th this year in National Harbor, in Oxon Hill Maryland, just outside of the nation’s capital.

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Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), is one of those policy experts. Norquist founded ATR in 1985 at President Reagan’s request, with the mission of limiting government size and cost, as well as any sort of tax increase, and supporting tax reform that includes taxing consumed income at a one time rate. Friday, Norquist is sitting on a panel titled “The Trump Report Card: Conservatives Grade the Administration.”

Norquist praises Trump’s newest tax bill, “The new tax bill is a great, big first step. Taking the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 increases the after tax rate of return for every American business by about 15%. Now that means every business in the country is worth more, without changing anything. The United States is now less expensive to invest in and more profitable to invest in, so American money is flowing back in from around the world.” ATR is also working to fight a tax increase after Trump endorsed a 25-cent gas tax increase to fund infrastructure. “Never gonna happen,” Norquist said. “A gas tax is what you do instead of reforming the system. Tax increases are what politicians do if they aren’t competent enough to reform government.”

Friday also features a panel titled “One Man’s ‘Crumbs’” including remarks from North Carolina businessman, Robert Luddy. Luddy’s credibility comes from his record as an entrepreneur, having started a hugely successful kitchen ventilation business in 1976. CaptiveAire has 6 manufacturing plants across the country, employing a sales force of 230, leading as the dominant company in commercial system ventilation manufacturing.

Robert Luddy, author of Entrepreneurial Life and founder of CaptivAire

“The panel is going to be on the new tax law and impact on small entrepreneurial businesses.”  Luddy said. He plans to talk about how taxes are typically pretty severe costs to small businesses. Luddy praises the recently passed tax law, highlighting the effect he thinks it will have on smaller corporations. “Essentially they’re going to be given a twenty-prcent reduction in the Sub S tax statute. So now, one-fifth of the money they earn they can now keep and allocate toward growth, job creation, and new opportunities.” The recent tax bill is affecting his own business, too. He said will use money saved from the tax cut to make investments, create higher levels of productivity, add more jobs, and improve manufacturing processes.

Luddy says he wants to continue to see government shrink, and let businesses flourish “faster than the government.” Luddy concluded, “Small business is a tremendous training ground for members of our society. Someone gets a job at a small business, they begin to learn, they’re working for disciplined people, it improves their lives.”

Vice President Mike Pence kicked off CPAC with he and his wife addressing the crowd earlier in the week. President Donald Trump spoke to crowd Friday morning for more than an hour.  A live stream of the conference can be viewed at cpac.conservative.org.