By James Walsh
Rep. Nan Hayworth told the Orange County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday that she remains opposed to tax increases, but would support raising the federal government's debt ceiling in exchange for dollar-for-dollar spending cuts.
Hayworth, R-Mount Kisco, said she and 234 other House members who signed a pledge not to raise taxes were intent on reducing the federal deficit without "burdening" taxpayers.
Smaller government wanted
She spoke to about 150 business people attending the chamber's monthly breakfast at the Falkirk Estate and Country Club. The gathering opened with a moment of silence for David Cocks, the Walden Savings Bank executive who died unexpectedly Sunday.
"This chamber lost a very, very good friend," chamber President John D'Ambrosio said of Cocks, the group's chairman-elect. The somber mood was broken by a standing ovation for David MacFarland, president and CEO of Riverside Bank, who's retiring after 48 years in the industry.
Hayworth arrived later than planned and launched into a rundown of her agenda to reduce Washington's influence and direct more responsibility toward state and local governments. "To be American is to be free," Hayworth, 51, said. "I want the federal government to have a smaller role."
States, localities could do better
From her perspective, states and localities could better identify and serve the needs of their residents. She said 60 percent of the federal budget was so-called "entitlements" like Social Security and Medicare, and that Medicare was spending three times more than recipients contributed from their taxes.
To a question on the possibility of a federally led push to reduce dependence on foreign oil, Hayworth said that could spawn an expensive bureaucracy.
Whether oil, coal, solar, wind, biomass, geothermal or nuclear, "we need an all-of-the-above approach that is market-based," she said.