U.S. Senate candidate Rob Portman appeared on The Roger Hedgecock radio show to discuss President Obama's visit to Ohio yesterday and the destructive impact of Washington's job-killing policies on Ohio's chances for real economic recovery.
Key excerpts below:
Roger Hedgecock on the Traffic:
I wanted to ask you about the President's visit. Now people in L.A. still haven't gotten over how snarled the traffic got when the President came into town and shut everything down within a mile and a half of where he was. What happened in Ohio?
Rob Portman on the Snarls:
Well, I was up in Cleveland at a factory tour not in Columbus where he was but I don't know how much he snarled the traffic but some people might have been snarling for other reasons.
Rob Portman on Washington Hurting, Not Helping:
You know, we've got ten-and-a-half percent unemployment here, and I'm delighted the President came to Ohio. I think it'd be great for him to see first-hand that what they're doing in Washington isn't working. You know, we have lost over 130,000 jobs here in Ohio since the stimulus package was signed into law. And today the President basically said, Stay the course. He said the big government approach, including the stimulus package is working, and I don't think many Ohioans agree with that. They don't see that what Washington is doing is helping. Those who are in small business, the manufacturer I was with today, see it as hurting because they see these new taxes, they see the healthcare costs going up, they see more regulations, they're concerned about the energy costs with the Cap and Trade proposal the President is supporting which kills Ohio jobs and they look at this record debt and deficit and say how is this helping to get us back on our feet here in Ohio.
Rob Portman on Spurring the Private Sector:
Well the first thing I think we need to do is redirect the stimulus funding. It hasn't worked. It's not working. There's still hundreds of billions of dollars that have not been spent. Let's redirect it toward two things. One is tax relief for small businesses and for workers. I prefer a one-year suspension of the payroll tax. That's what I supported when the stimulus package was first talked about a year and a half ago. It's still the right thing to do. It will give business a shot in the arm-particularly small businesses to be able to get through this tough period. It will also let workers keep a little more of their take home pay because everyone pays payroll taxes and help get the economy moving again. Second, I would redirect it toward private sector jobs and infrastructure because that adds to economic development. There are shovel-ready jobs right here in Ohio, ready to go. We're not getting the stimulus funds because that stimulus package, as you know, has very little in it for roads and bridges-only about four percent.
Rob Portman on President Obama's "Idea" of Job Creation:
It seems like every time he has a new spending idea, he's calling it a jobs bill as he did with the legislation that was passed last week where we borrowed money from Washington and sent it back to the states. Look we've got a situation in Ohio and so many other states right now where people are starting to lose hope. More than half of our unemployed Ohioans have been out of work for six months or more.