Representative Bryan Lentz, the Democratic nominee for Congress in Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District, today released his six-point plan for creating good-paying jobs and laying the foundation to keep the region's economy moving forward. The plan resulted from input Lentz received from business owners and residents across Delaware, Montgomery and Chester counties during a 10-week, 25-stop job tour that he launched in mid-July.
Dubbed "Cut, Build, Innovate" the plan (see below) includes common-sense proposals that build upon efforts local companies are already taking to stay ahead of overseas competitors and maintain a skilled workforce. It calls for expanding tax breaks for research and development and the purchase of new equipment to make sure companies keep creating the kind of innovative, high-quality goods that can't be produced overseas. The plan also calls for taking steps to make loans more available to small businesses, because many local companies said the difficulty of getting access to capital was stopping them from starting new projects.
"This plan provides companies with the resources they need to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit that will keep the companies in the 7th Congressional District at the forefront of the global economy," Lentz said. "It takes steps to get our companies hiring again in the short term, and helps ensure that we are making investments in areas that will continue to pay dividends for years to come."
Lentz's plan also responds to concerns about the nation's deficit by setting a goal of reducing government spending by at least $100 billion a year. Lentz called for finding savings in areas that make up the largest portion of the federal budget, like Defense and Medicare, as well as examining the rest of the nation's budget for potential savings.
Finally, the plan also calls for repairs and improvements to the region's infrastructure that are crucial to supporting continued economic growth. It calls for a multi-year program to invest in repairing bridges and roads, and investing in projects like high speed rail, which will ease congestion at the Philadelphia International Airport and other facilities along the East Coast, and developing an energy grid that is more efficient and able to adapt to the expected growth in renewable energy sources.
A former Airborne Ranger, criminal prosecutor and Iraq War veteran, Bryan Lentz currently serves in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from Delaware County. He was awarded both the Bronze Star for Service and the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal for his military service. He lives in Swarthmore with his wife Jennifer and their son Thomas.
CUT, BUILD, INNOVATE
*Cut Government Spending by at Least $100 Billion per Year to Reduce the Deficit
All areas of the budget must be reviewed to cut unnecessary and wasteful spending. The money saved can be used to pay down the nation's deficit, and help pay for tax breaks for businesses that lead to job creation, such as investing in infrastructure improvement and providing incentives for companies to invest in research and development and new equipment. Areas that consume most of the nation's budget, like Defense and Medicare, must be reviewed for potential ways to save money that don't jeopardize national security or quality of health care provided, along with all other areas of government spending.
* Give Families a One-Year Tax Break to Revive Consumer Spending
Consumer goods and services account for about 70% of our economy, therefore one of the keys to any successful economic recovery plan must be to help restore consumer demand to normal through a tax cut for consumers. I propose a one-time tax rebate of $1,600 per family. Several recent studies using U.S. data have found that when consumers receive a $1,000 tax cut in a recession, they spend roughly $200 in the first three months and another $200 in the following three months. Congress implemented a tax rebate in 2008 and a reduction in income tax withholding in 2009 and 2010. With unemployment still high, clearly an additional rebate is necessary for consumers to help revive demand.
*Commit to Keeping America Competitive by Investing in our Infrastructure
The quality of our nation's infrastructure is key to keeping our economy competitive. We need to commit to a multi-year program of investment that will lay the foundation for future growth, and create good-paying jobs. That includes repairing Pennsylvania's structurally deficient bridges, investing in high-speed rail along the Northeast corridor to ease air traffic congestion at the Philadelphia International Airport and improving our ports to maintain the region's role as an important hub of global shipping activity. The groundwork also needs to be laid for the changing 21st century economy by aiding the private sector in the development of a modern energy grid that facilitates the use of renewable energy and expanded deployment of broadband access.
*Make It Easier For Businesses That Are Ready To Invest To Get Loans
Right now many businesses in the 7th District are ready to invest in their future, but are being held back by their inability to get loans from banks that are reluctant to lend. Steps could include reducing Federal lending restrictions, providing additional incentives for lending, and expanding existing small business loan guarantee programs. Smaller community banks that have knowledge of our local communities and businesses, should play a key role in this effort by receiving additional incentives to make loans to the small businesses and start-ups that are the largest generators of job growth in the nation.
*Make Sure America's Businesses Remain Global Leaders in Innovation
America may no longer be able to make it cheaper than everybody else, but our businesses are showing every day that they can make it better. To keep America out in front of our foreign competitors we need to give U.S. companies powerful incentives to invest in the kind of research and development spending that leads to new and better quality products. The size of the tax breaks offered to companies for spending on Research and Development and investment in new equipment and machinery must be greatly expanded and made immediately deductible to reduce the cost of these activities for our companies. Competitive grant programs like the Small Business Innovation Research awards can also be expanded to provide additional funding that will support the development of new technologically advanced products.
*Give Companies Incentives to Hire New Workers by Reducing Training Costs
Many companies in the region said that the largest barrier to their hiring new employees was the cost of training them to make sure they have the skills needed to do the job right. Giving tax breaks to companies for on-the-job training and education will encourage businesses to make the long-term commitment to hiring new employees and ensuring we have a highly trained work force that makes the region attractive for companies to operate in.