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Public Statements

The Economic News is Getting Better in Missouri by U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshof

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The Economic News is Getting Better in Missouri by U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshof
Columbia Business Times, June 28, 2004

No matter what your economic indicator of choice may be, it points to an increasingly strong economy. Incomes grew by a healthy .6 percent in May, the second straight month of growth. Existing home sales hit a record in May. Second-quarter growth is on pace to be among the strongest in 20 years.

In 2001 and 2002, it seemed we were served a daily dose of bad economic news. Jobs were being lost and the general economic outlook seemed bleak. Pundits and investors became fixated upon what seemed to be a steady stream of negative news.

Fast forward to the summer of 2004. The economic outlook is much different today. Positive signs abound. There is no shortage of evidence that a sustained recovery is currently underway and has been for some time.

No matter what your economic indicator of choice may be, it points to an increasingly strong economy. Incomes grew by a healthy .6 percent in May, the second straight month of growth. Existing home sales hit a record in May. Second-quarter growth is on pace to be among the strongest in 20 years.

But the economic indicator that receives the most attention is employment. Here, too, things look very encouraging. Nearly one million new jobs have been added in the last three months alone. In Missouri, we have added 38,000 jobs over that same period of time.

There is good reason to be optimistic about future job growth, too. According to a recent Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, the July to September forecast of companies adding jobs represents one of the largest year-over-year increases in the survey's history. Manufacturing jobs are leading the way. According to the Wall Street Journal, "the manufacturing sector has made an especially notable recovery since this time last year." And the outlook is even brighter in mid-Missouri. The Jefferson City News-Tribune reports that 53 percent of mid-Missouri employers plan to hire more employees this summer.

I am convinced that the economic growth package passed by Congress in 2003 played a constructive role in producing the good economic news we are seeing today. Reducing the tax burden associated with capital investment - such as bonus depreciation, expanded expensing for small businesses and lower tax rates on dividends and capital gains - made it easier to expand a business and create jobs. Lower tax rates let taxpayers keep more of what they earn, which kept consumer demand strong.

It would, however, be unwise to rest on our laurels. To make American companies more competitive in the global marketplace, the House recently passed H.R. 4250, the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. This bill, among other things, will provide specific relief for domestic manufacturers, modernize tax laws that currently penalize American exporters and make other overdue reforms - such as updated rules for Subchapter S corporations - that will help small business succeed.

Although there may continue to be a minority of naysayers who talk down the economy, the facts clearly don't back them up. It's evident that we have every reason to be optimistic about our recovering economy.

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