Weekly Columns

Economic Recovery Plan

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Washington, August 31, 2011 | comments

Tennesseans are working hard to provide for their families amidst uncertain times and an unstable economy.  The unemployment rate in Tennessee sits above nine percent, and many of our communities are living with the threat of more jobs cuts. The best way Congress can work to lower the unemployment rate and promote job growth is to create an atmosphere that rewards hard work, keeps government out of the way of innovation and incentivizes our businesses to invest in new jobs and equipment.

A job-creating environment includes four principles: provide small businesses with a tax deduction; reduce unnecessary and burdensome regulations; repeal job-killing mandates on small business; and sign job-creating legislation into law.

Employers are slow to hire and are concerned that Washington is not on their side. They see this through threats of higher taxes and new regulations.  I believe our economy works best when we reduce regulations, lower taxes and allow families to keep more of what they earn. That is why I voted to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.  Keeping the tax cuts in place gave businesses some cost certainty; in turn, giving them more confidence to hire additional employees.  Lowering taxes will allow families and small businesses to decide how to spend their money.

Furthermore, we will allow small business owners to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their business income. This will provide entrepreneurs with a much-needed infusion of capital for investment and new hiring. The House Ways and Means Committee is working on legislation to provide this tax deduction for American small businesses.

However, tax cuts are not enough to bring our sick economy back to health. We must reduce unnecessary regulations that are burdening small businesses in Tennessee and around the country. Excessive federal regulation is a de facto tax on employers and consumers that stifles job creation, hampers innovation and postpones investment in the economy. When the game is always changing, small businesses cannot properly plan for the future. To provide certainty, we will require congressional approval of any new federal regulation that has an annual cost to our economy of $100 million or more. This is the threshold at which the government deems a regulation “economically significant.” If a regulation is so “significant” and costly that it may harm job creation, Congress should vote on it first.

That is why, I am a cosponsor of H.R. 10, the REINS Act, which restricts unelected federal bureaucrats from imposing huge costs on the economy and American people through burdensome regulations.  I am hopeful we will vote on this bill this fall.

One of the most controversial mandates of the Democrats' government takeover of health care requires small businesses to report to the Internal Revenue Service any purchases that run more than $600. This 1099 reporting mandate is so overbearing that the IRS has determined that the agency is ill equipped to handle all the resulting paperwork. This mandate is completely nonsensical and harmful – and that is why Congress passed H.R. 4, the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011, legislation to repeal the mandate.

If we can get folks back to work, more revenue will be sent to the federal government so we can close the deficit. Spending cuts are also a major factor in lowering our deficit, but we also must pass job-creating legislation. This includes bills that fix the tax code, increase competitiveness for American manufacturers and maximize domestic energy production.

As chair of the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee, I am committed to protecting our existing jobs and creating new ones. I have been working diligently and have been holding hearings that explore how we can spur job growth by giving workers the skills they need to find a job in today’s global economy.

Action is needed to restore the economy and jobs, but it must be the right action toward recovery.  We can get our economy moving by providing small businesses with tax deductions, reducing burdensome regulations and fixing the complicated tax code.


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