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Public Statements

Issue Position: Economy

Issue Position

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Strengthening the Economy

The economy is the most important challenge facing us today. Although there have been some positive signs of recovery, with a national unemployment rate hovering at around 10 percent, it is a jobless recovery at best. There has not been enough focus in Washington on getting Americans back to work.

I am a businessman, not a politician. I have created jobs, met payrolls, and balanced budgets. I know what makes a strong economy and just as importantly I know what will harm our economy---higher taxes, more regulations, and ballooning deficits are not the answer.

I voted against the trillion dollar stimulus package because it spent too much and didn't do enough to create jobs. Recent data shows that 48 out of 50 states have seen a net job loss since the President signed the stimulus package. Meanwhile, Washington D.C. has seen a big increase in government jobs.

We don't need more bureaucrats in Washington. What we need is tax relief, debt reduction and legal reform to help create private sector jobs and boost the economy.

That's why I introduced a five-point jobs plan that would:

* Extend a provision that allows small business to deduct all or part of the cost of a business investment in one year, instead of spreading the tax savings across several years

* Eliminate for one year the capital gains tax for small businesses

* Make unemployment benefits tax free for 2010

* Use all repaid TARP funds to pay down the debt

* Curb frivolous lawsuits

The Stimulus

We are in a recession. I think that we all agree that Congress needed to pass legislation to help get the economy moving again. But instead of working in a bipartisan effort to boost the economy, House leaders pushed through legislation that I opposed because it spent too much money and didn't do enough to create jobs.

Unfortunately, the bill passed by Congress exploded our national debt without providing any meaningful economic growth. Only 20 percent of the money in this legislation will be spent in 2009, when the money is needed most.

Only three percent of the stimulus package will help small businesses. These are the businesses that create most of the jobs in our country. It also provides very little tax relief to workers while saddling every American family with an estimated $6,500 in added debt.

I supported and voted for an alternative bill that would have created twice as many jobs in half the time without leaving the country in massive debt.

Bailouts

I voted in good faith for legislation to prevent the collapse of our financial markets and get credit flowing to small businesses and working families. But I have serious concerns about the way the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) fund has been managed. There has been too little transparency and too many inconsistencies. That is why I opposed the release of the second half of the fund. Hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent but credit is still unavailable to many of you.

I also opposed the auto bailout because it was a bad deal for taxpayers. I couldn't support putting taxpayers on the line without a viable restructuring plan that addresses the core of their economic problems. A rushed federal bailout for an industry unwilling to fix itself was a poor investment.

Reducing Spending and Keeping Taxes Low

I am a businessman, not a politician. I have created jobs, met payrolls, and balanced budgets. I know what makes a strong economy and just as importantly I know what will harm our economy---higher taxes, more regulations, and ballooning deficits are not the answer.

I introduced the Buchanan Balanced Budget Amendment to require a balanced federal budget and cosponsored legislation to make the tax cuts permanent. Furthermore, I believe strongly in our free enterprise system and less government interference in the private sector.

Small Business

Small businesses are vital to our economy. They account for seven out of every 10 new jobs.

Right now, most small business owners are struggling to guide their business through these tough times. A recent survey said that 48 percent of small businesses have instituted hiring freezes and 30 percent of the nation's small business owners are no longer taking a salary.

Preventing Foreclosures

I helped pass legislation to expand federal home loan guarantees to help qualified homeowners at risk of foreclosure keep their homes by allowing them to refinance into more affordable, fixed-rate mortgages. Only owner-occupied primary residences would qualify for the program, not speculators.

Owning your own home has long been a part of the American dream. We must find a way to reach out to people who have lost their jobs or gotten behind on their mortgage because of the economic crisis. At the same time we must act responsibly to ensure that qualified homeowners are helped, rather than speculators who play the system repeatedly. American homeowners are not looking for a handout - they are looking for a hand up.

Energy

We need a national energy policy that promotes conservation and alternative fuels as well as allows us to drill more here in America to reduce our reliance on foreign oil. Americans are innovative. We can develop alternative fuels and the automobiles to use them. We know how to develop an energy policy that utilizes our natural resources. Americans have never relied on foreign countries to solve our problems. We won't do that in this instance either.

Stabilizing Property Insurance Rates

Sky-high insurance rates are hurting the middle-class and small businesses. I cosponsored legislation to create a voluntary national catastrophic fund to encourage insurance companies to write policies that working families and small businesses can afford. I was pleased when the House passed legislation including this provision.

As Americans struggle with higher prices in every facet of the economy, we must make sure that insurance companies offer affordable policies to protect homes and property. I will continue to work to ensure that Florida residents can find affordable and effective coverage for their homes and businesses.


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