U.S. Rep. Martha McSally signaled her support Tuesday for President Trump’s tax proposal, saying it represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to simplify the country’s tax codes.

Sitting in her Tucson office and flanked by business leaders she had met with privately for 90 minutes, the two-term Republican stressed the proposal is still in the most nascent of stages as lawmakers wrestle with core concepts.

She outlined her goals for tax reform, saying she wants to help the middle class with tax cuts, help small businesses grow, simplify the entire tax code and reset the tax code so that the United States can compete globally for new and growing businesses.

“It was solidified … how crucial it is to groups that were at the table today representing small businesses and the challenges they have with tax rates and the tax complications,” McSally said.

Several business owners at the meeting told reporters that tax cuts would let them re-invest in their businesses, buying new equipment as well as handing out raises.

“The less money I have to pay to the IRS or my CPA can go to raises that have been woefully unfunded for many years,” said Lynn Mattingly, president of the Sierra Vista-based Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation. “The cost of doing business goes up with the cost of health care, the rules and regulations and with all of the other components of being able to run a business.”

Simplification of the tax code, said Lea Márquez-Peterson, the president and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, should help everyone in Southern Arizona keep more money in their pockets.

“Just that is a weight off your shoulders in terms of individual taxation,” Márquez-Peterson said. “They are trying to take this complex process and turn it into one or two pages in terms of completing your taxes. I think that is a real benefit to individuals and homeowners.”

Peter Minot, the owner of Southwest Solutions, said a tax cut for him will help his business grow.

“If you lower that tax, it just gives me as a business owner the ability to reinvest in the business, give raises and take home for myself, which I’ll spend,” Minot said. “That’s going to benefit my community. I am not the 1 percent.”

McSally conceded that the discussion on Tuesday with local business owners was narrowly focused on helping small businesses and did not address other economic issues such as incentives to bring businesses back to the United States after moving operations overseas.

“Today our focus was on helping small businesses,” she said.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@tucson.com or 573-4197. On Twitter: @JoeFerguson

Reporter

Reporter with the Arizona Daily Star. I cover politics as well as the city of Tucson and other municipalities in Southern Arizona.