Op-Ed: Small Business, Jobs And Wall Street Reform
In my most recent visit to Texas District 15 I've had the chance to speak to many citizens about their concerns. Everyone says they are worried about the economic situation we inherited from the previous administration and they add to their concerns the lack of job opportunities.
In President Obama's State of the Union Address, the President proposed lending $30 billion of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to community banks to increase lending to small businesses. President Obama also proposed eliminating capital gains taxes on small businesses investments and implementing tax incentives for small businesses that hire new workers or raise the wages of existing workers.
I supported the "Small Business Financing and Investment Act" which passed the House in October 2009. It will create new jobs and stimulate the economy by providing small businesses with access to the loans and investment dollars they need to expand and grow their operations.
We all want small businesses to succeed and more incentives are needed to help them accomplish their goals. The President also proposes that small businesses be given continuing tax incentives which allow them to immediately write off much of the cost of investments in new equipment instead of having to depreciate it over time. In addition, it is proposed that small businesses not pay pay-roll taxes with a cap of up to $105,000. I believe small businesses are the number one source of new jobs in this country. Small businesses create 60-80% of new jobs every year. I believe these proposals will help jump start new jobs in our country.
In January 2009, I voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This $787 billion program is already creating jobs and infrastructure in District 15. In just one year, my district has received $941 million. This money has been used to re-new highways and build affordable homes, save jobs and improve and re-new water systems. In fact, $2 million is being used to rebuild the city of Elsa's water plant and $4.5 million was awarded to the city of Alice to reconstruct and repair its water plant.
These funds were also used to keep Texans in their jobs. People like firefighters and teachers. Highway and levee projects were also awarded millions of dollars in District 15. So far ARRA has saved or created 1.5 to 2 million jobs nation wide.
President Obama, as I do, believes in investing in the future when it comes to energy and our environment. Through ARRA, more than $80 billion will be invested in creating clean-energy jobs of tomorrow. We must commit ourselves to be less dependent on the world oil market. We must develop new, green jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced. We must plan for our future in a responsible and efficient way.
I voted for the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173) in December 2009 to help restore common sense to Wall Street and to protect consumers with the largest reform of our nation's financial regulations since the New Deal.
For eight years, the former administration looked the other way as Wall Street and big banks exploited loopholes and gambled with our money-compromising our savings, our future, and the American Dream. Risky and irresponsible behavior and the failure to regulate the financial industry led to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. My goal is to protect consumers from predatory lending, safeguard our retirement and college savings from unnecessary risks, and inject transparency and new accountability into a financial system run amok.
This bill will also include the creation the Office of Financial Literacy, which I authored. The proposed office will help educate consumers on consumer financial products and services by providing one-on-one financial counseling; helping individuals understand their credit history and credit score; assisting individuals in their efforts to plan for major purchases, reduce their debt, and improve their financial stability.
I, along with my colleagues in Congress and with the President, will always support legislation that will prevent another global economic crisis. I believe we are working our way out of this terrible recession. It will take time and a lot of effort from both sides of the aisle. I am very hopeful that Congress will be successful in these endeavors and keep our nation's economy strong and on top.