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Public Statements

Job Creation

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CLARKE of Michigan. I want to thank the gentleman from Arkansas for yielding to me to address this body and also to my good friend, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Reed), for inviting me to be here.

As you know, I'm a Democrat. I'm currently vice president of the Democratic freshman class. And yet we may have our differences, but the people that we represent in this great country are all different. That's what makes our country so strong and so great is that we attracted people from all around the world with their different talents and perspectives. But they all have the opportunity to responsibly express themselves and leverage their talents to build one of the greatest countries our civilization has ever known.

One thing I do know that we can agree on is that the role of this Congress is to create jobs and to help improve the business climate to keep and attract the investment that creates jobs. I want to give you an

example of the place that I was born and raised in and that I currently live in, the city of Detroit. That metropolitan area has lost more jobs than any other metropolitan area in the last 10 years. Home foreclosures came through, hit our city like a wave and destroyed blocks and blocks of formerly viable neighborhoods. It's been heartbreaking for me to see what's happened not only to the city but to the people that I love, many of whom have had to leave the city for the suburbs. They've moved out of State. Many have just lost hope altogether.

I want to get to the point. What businesses have told me on what they need to stay in the city and what businesses would need to locate in the city is the same things that Detroit families want: simple, basic things--safe neighborhoods, good schools, a low cost of living and doing business.

So think about it: if we could provide better public safety for folks, if we could improve the schools and cut those high municipal taxes in Detroit, I know that we could keep businesses and attract new jobs. And here's why. Even though this city has been very hard hit economically, we've got the best manufacturing know-how in the country. We've got a great trained workforce. If we're able to hire more police officers, hire better teachers, keep our schools open longer, cut our property taxes by eliminating our daunting municipal and school debt and eliminate our city income tax on residents and nonresidents, we could bring jobs back to Detroit. And not only that, we could create jobs for this country.

Now all that sounds like it costs money. It does cost money. But here's what I'm proposing. It's not new money. Let's just use existing tax revenue that Detroit businesses and Detroit individuals pay right now. We put that money in trust on a pilot basis to see how it works. And we would say, if the city wants to benefit from those tax dollars, it's got to pay off its debt entirely, the city and the school district, and it's got to eliminate that uncompetitive city income tax. And then the rest of the money can only be invested in those core areas that will improve the business climate of that city, like making the streets safer, the schools better and rebuilding those crumbling roads and water systems. That's what we can do.

I appreciate the gentleman from Arkansas for yielding to me.


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