Weekly Columns

Our Economy is Booming

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Washington, May 30, 2018 | Lani Short (202-225-6356) | comments

Last month, Tennessee’s unemployment rate hit a record low of 3.4 percent, half a percent lower than the national rate that has fallen to a 48-year low. In fact, according to Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips, unemployment rates in all 95 Tennessee counties decreased in April 2018. On top of that, the unemployment rate for our nation’s veterans has dropped to just 3.7 percent, down from 4.3 percent just a year ago. Nationally, our economy is also thriving as a result of increased job opportunities, greater investment and higher employee incentives. It’s clear the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has played an important role in getting our economy off the ground and renewed economic confidence.

According to a CBS News Nation Tracker poll, “nearly 2 in 3 Americans think the nation’s economy is in good shape, and most of them believe President Trump’s policies are at least somewhat responsible for that.” Despite opponents declaring that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would be “Armageddon” for Americans and that $1,000 bonuses for hardworking employees were just “crumbs,” our economy is booming and Republicans in Congress want to keep it that way. Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi said she’d repeal this bill if Democrats regain control of the House, and a member of their caucus has already introduced legislation to do so.

As I’ve visited different businesses and talked to various employers and employees around the First District, I’ve noticed the optimism and enthusiasm they’re experiencing because of the pro-growth policies. In Tennessee alone, 50,000 individuals have entered the workforce, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics cited Tennessee’s employment growth as 2.1 percent. Further, four million workers nationally already have seen the benefit of these historic tax cuts through bonuses, wage increases and benefit improvements. Tennessee companies like Ozark Motor Lines, Dollywood, McKee Foods, FedEx and Unum all have invested in their workforce because of the certainty they have from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Small businesses are also experiencing these benefits. The National Federation of Independent Business found that worker compensation remains at the highest level since 2000, especially as the average American family sees growth in their paychecks because of tax cuts. As a proud supporter of small businesses in our country, I am very pleased to see them empowered and succeeding.

An additional benefit of the law specific to East Tennessee came about earlier in May when the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) approved 23 areas within the First Congressional District to be designated as Opportunity Zones, which target and promote investment in these areas. Investors with capital gains can secure a tax benefit by investing those gains in these areas, providing much-needed capital for the state and local areas to grow. One of the hardest challenges counties have in growing their economy and attracting new employers is securing the capital they need to build facilities and infrastructure to support these jobs, so these Opportunity Zones could be a big deal in areas like East Tennessee.

I’m very proud of the work that has been done to simplify our tax system, and I’m grateful President Trump has taken a stand for the economy in rural America. I am optimistic for the future of our country and look forward to building on this momentum to continue delivering the kind of results the American people deserve and expect.

Feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family.

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