The High Desert has long supported the innovation and growth of our community’s small businesses. During my four years serving as a City Council member in the City of Hesperia, I worked with our local Chamber of Commerce to strengthen our thriving business community.

However, despite efforts by Hesperia’s local chamber and City Council to advocate for our small businesses, companies throughout the city still struggle to compete in today’s marketplace. What’s to blame? Many would argue it is our nation’s outdated tax code.

The glory days of the Reagan Administration have come and gone. Businesses no longer benefit from lower tax rates, and as a result the middle class is struggling to make ends meet as wages and job creation stagnate.

Today, businesses are forced to work under a tax code that hasn’t been updated in more than 30 years. Decades of neglect and the rejection of comprehensive tax reform proposals have left our nation with one of the highest combined business tax rates in the developed world. This, in turn, is making American companies uncompetitive in global markets, creating further drag on wages and jobs.

Personally, I work in the engineering sector of our economy as the president of Exquadrum, Inc. We are an aerospace technology firm that develops commercial and defense aerospace technologies, from rockets all the way to biological weapon neutralizers. My company’s technologies help to improve our nation’s national security. However, just like many other small businesses throughout California, we struggle to grow and innovate when working under a tax code that seems almost designed to prevent us from succeeding.

The High Desert deserves to see its small-business community grow and expand, creating good jobs and thriving communities along the way. In order to do so, however, we need to encourage our representatives to support passage of common-sense tax reform legislations in 2017.

Everyone in Hesperia should call on our federal elected officials and ask them to work together in Washington on a tax reform plan that will significantly reduce the business tax rate, simplify the tax code so small-business owners don’t need to hire expensive tax preparation help, and close the many loopholes in the code that give an unfair advantage to big businesses over small- and mid-sized firms.

Of the plans being discussed today, both the House GOP plan and President Donald Trump’s proposal are pro-growth initiatives that would help achieve all these goals. While the two plans differ in some details, in general, they both focus on commonsense, growth-oriented ideas that most Americans can get behind.

More specifically, the House GOP plan would help the people and state of California by putting more money into your pocket and helping small businesses grow. According to the Tax Foundation, the House GOP plan will help create more than 190,000 full-time jobs in California and will help Californians bring home more than $5,000 in additional after-tax income. These are the kinds of figures that can’t be ignored. Their realization would be good for the nation, California, the city of Hesperia, and the greater High Desert region.

With Republican majorities in the House of Representatives and Senate, and with the White House in Republican hands as well, it is time for the GOP to stand up for America’s small businesses and pass commonsense tax reform legislation in 2017.

Eric Schmidt is the president of Exquadrum, Inc., and a former mayor of Hesperia.