There is no greater challenge facing families and businesses today than our nation's struggling economy. And the American people know that "Job #1" for this Congress should be restoring growth. And private sector job creation. The Administration and Congress should be working aggressively together to find more effective ways to spur private sector job creation and opportunities.
According to the Department of Labor, the number of lost payroll jobs since the recession's start in late 2007 exceeds 7 million. A third of today's jobless have been unemployed for more than six months. That is a post-World War II high.
While the nation's "official" unemployment rate stands at 10 percent, the "underemployment" rate is much higher. Some estimates put it above 20 percent if you count the officially unemployed plus all part-time workers who want full-time jobs as well as job-seekers who dropped completely out of the job market.
In turn, new proposed taxes, the likely expiration of existing tax cuts, and red tape are discouraging the creation of new jobs!
That's important. Studies have indicated that since 1980 nearly all net new jobs have come from businesses that are less than five years old. In other words, they come from "start-ups" or entrepreneurs.
Take 2007 for example, new firms, aged 1 to 5 years, accounted for two-thirds or roughly 12 million of all the new jobs added to our economy.
That is why Congress and the Administration must realize that the worst time to raise job-killing taxes or increase stifling government regulation is in the middle of a deep recession or, for that matter, a jobless "recovery."
Instead, Congress should immediately:
* Allow small businessmen and women to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income.
* Let small businesses join together to purchase health insurance for their workers the way large businesses and labor unions do.
* Lower taxes for all taxpayers by reducing the current 15 percent income tax rate to 10 percent and reducing the current 10 percent rate to 5 percent. This will provide an immediate increase in income to every taxpaying family in America and free up capital to help small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs hire more workers.
The so-called economic "stimulus" bill that Congress passed, over my objection, in early 2009 clearly did little but expands the federal and state government bureaucracy and drive up our national debt to record levels.
It's time for a new approach that:
* Keeps taxes low on families and businesses.
* Continues tax credits and deductions to help New Jersey families afford child care, college tuition, and home ownership while supporting charitable giving.
* Makes greater investment in renewable technologies: Energy independence means keeping more money at home, protecting diversity of our energy sources and promotes economic stability.
* Opens new markets to international trade. New Jersey exports over $30 billion of products to other nations annually. In order to expand, New Jersey businesses must have access to new opportunities.
I will continue to work with my colleagues in the New Jersey Congressional delegation and groups across our state to strengthen our economy. I will be continue to meet with and listen to local Chambers of Commerce, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners, the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, the Somerset Business Partnership, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
It should be clear to everyone that we have to stop spending borrowed federal dollars like there is no tomorrow! Since control of Congress changed hands in 2007, appropriations spending have jumped by 41 percent and that does not even include the "stimulus" dollars and other "emergency" measures the Congress approved in 2009!
We had a $1.4 trillion dollar deficit at the end of our budget year in September 2010. It is time to say enough is enough, stop pointing fingers and fix this crushing debt burden facing our country. If you reach your spending limit on a credit card, you can't ask the company to increase your line of credit, you have to make fiscally responsible decisions to pay down your debt.
And all of this new spending is making the government more dependent on new taxing and new borrowing!
Yet, the President proposed a budget for Fiscal Year 2011 that projected a record-setting $1.6 trillion dollar deficit for the year. Worse, the deficit is projected to never fall below $702 billion over the next ten years!