Last month, Americans across the country celebrated Labor Day, with parades and picnics and a day off of work. But this day came at a difficult time for millions of Americans who are struggling to find jobs, while our nation's unemployment rate hovers near ten percent.
In South Central Kansas, many aviation workers have been personally impacted by the downturn in our economy and job cutbacks. While many Kansas business owners would like to invest in their companies and hire new workers, they are instead bracing for costly tax increases, burdensome government mandates and intrusive regulations. The words of former President Reagan come to mind during this time of economic uncertainty: "Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem."
It is time for our government to change direction. When businesses have the certainty, resources, markets and freedom, they will succeed and create jobs. History shows that sustainable economic growth starts with the private sector, so I have introduced legislation to help Kansas companies grow, and most importantly, start hiring again.
Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and have generated 65 percent of new jobs over the past 17 years. Currently, they employ half of all private sector workers. Clearly, small businesses are the engine of job creation in our economy and are critical to our country's success. The legislation I introduced will encourage business investment by extending temporary bonus depreciation for certain property, increasing the deduction amount for start-up expenditures and repealing the 1099 paperwork mandate created in the new health care law, which requires businesses to file a report with the IRS every time they make a purchase of more than $600. These proposals will encourage companies to invest in their business and create jobs.
Unless Congress acts before the end of the year, taxes will increase for all Americans. This tax hike will further damage our economy, yet Congress has failed to address this problem. The legislation I introduced would provide tax relief to businesses and repeal the estate tax, so family farms and small businesses can be passed on to the next generation and continue creating jobs. This tax relief will help restore certainty in the marketplace for businessmen and women, so they can plan for the future and create jobs.
Maintaining a strong business environment at home must be coupled with opening new foreign markets for American goods in countries like Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. A partnership with these countries will not only benefit their citizens, but will provide opportunities for American agriculture and industry. Yet, trade agreements with these countries have been stalled in Congress for several years. Each day that passes, we risk losing more of our market share to competing nations. My legislation would enact the United States-Colombian Trade Promotion Agreement, and urge the Obama Administration to immediately send the Panama and Korea trade agreements to Congress.
Finally, my bill will repeal the damaging new health care law. According to a recent Gallup poll, a majority of Americans identify cost as their top concern with health care. Unfortunately, the new health law fails to address this concern, as health care costs will only continue to rise. Instead of working to improve our current system and control costs, the new law imposes tax hikes on our fragile economy that will kill jobs, increases our growing deficit, and cuts Medicare by more than half a trillion dollars. Only by eliminating this budget-busting mistake can we then institute true reforms that are backed by the will of the American people and lower health care costs for families and businesses in Kansas.
As I travel across Kansas, the most common question business owners ask is "What's next from Washington?" For too long, Washington has increased the tax and regulatory burden on businesses at the expense of American workers. Rather than hiring new workers, businesses spend their resources on higher taxes and additional government regulations. These policies have hampered economic and job growth in America.
Government should be an ally of the people, not an adversary. Congress has a responsibility to reduce economic uncertainty, so businesses can move forward with confidence and start creating jobs. Once again, President Reagan's words come to mind, "We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow."