By Jesse Petrilla, former Rancho Santa Margarita Councilman & small business owner.

Nearly half a year into the new administration, the conversation around tax reform is picking up steam. Having just filed taxes, I’m reminded of how archaic and difficult the process is and I recognize there is no time like the present for much needed reform. As a small business owner, I have to physically write a check to pay my taxes, it’s not deducted automatically from a paycheck. Not only that, I have to pay quarterly. So each time I write that check it is a constant reminder of how high taxes are and just how strong the need for reform is. If everyone had to pay taxes that way, I can guarantee you this issue would be more in the forefront.

With Republicans holding the presidency and both houses of Congress, it has created a political and legislative environment that should allow policymakers to reach consensus and move the needle forward on a number of important issues, including tax reform.

Our tax code is outdated. The American people have endured years of legislative band-aids that do nothing to address the core problem. Because of this, our thirty-year old tax code has become a cumbersome law that inhibits economic growth for large and small businesses alike.

Short-term fixes just delay the inevitable overhaul. We can no longer continue to limp along using an outdated tax code.

California is home to nearly four million small businesses. They represent 99.2% of all employers in the state and employ 50.4% of the private-sector labor force. Small businesses are an integral part to our community. Yet, and I can attest, small businesses are at a distinct disadvantage under the antiquated tax code.  They are forced to operate under a system where they spend precious hours and financial resources complying with the code instead of investing and growing their businesses.

We’ve had some tough economic times in the past few years, but small business in the Southern California region has survived. Now it’s up to Washington’s policymakers to support the hardworking taxpayers and small businesses that are driving growth and economic opportunity.

Constituents, the media and legislators have acknowledged this is an issue that needs to be addressed next by Congress. However, disagreements and divisions should not derail good public policy reform that has the potential to bring jobs, dollars and changes needed to make America competitive again.