America is not only the greatest Democracy in the world, but also the strongest economic power in history. While the last few years have been difficult, Rhode Islanders have shown we are resilient, and I intend to ensure the United States continues to be a leader in the global economy.
Since 2001, the Bush Administration has turned its back on policies that led the United States to the longest period of economic expansion in history during the 1990s. We need to return to policies that work -- balanced budgets, middle class tax cuts, and tax incentives and regulatory relief for businesses. The government must create conditions that allow the economy to prosper by putting money in the hands of consumers who will spend it and providing incentives for businesses to invest in the future.
During my career in Congress, I have voted to reduce income tax rates, create a new 10% income tax bracket, eliminate the marriage penalty, and increase the child tax credit from $500 to $1000. Lowering taxes for the middle class is fair, and it is good policy. However, I will continue to oppose cuts for the wealthiest Americans at a time when budget deficits are at a record level, leaving future generations to pay the bill.
Since January 2001, the country has lost more than 3 million jobs, many of which have moved overseas to take advantage of cheap labor. Today, Rhode Island manufacturing industries are nearly non-existent. While we cannot stop globalization, government policies should encourage companies to hire workers in America, not reward companies that move workers overseas. For this reason, I have worked to provide a tax cut to domestic manufacturers that produce goods on American soil while ending incentives for companies that move factories overseas.
In addition, I believe that the government should not force expensive mandates on businesses. For instance, I applaud the Rhode Island General Assembly for passing legislation modernizing the state fire code to require fire sprinklers in more buildings in the wake of the Station nightclub fire, but this new law is a large burden for property owners. For this reason, I joined a Republican colleague to introduce the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, which creates a tax incentive for building owners to install fire sprinklers and save lives.
Our economy is struggling to create jobs, and businesses and workers alike need our help. Rather than continue the failed economic policies of the Bush Administration, we need to return to a path of fiscal responsibility and relief for those who need it most.