Although the economy is slowly beginning to recover, there is no doubt New Yorkers continue to face a difficult economic situation. Every day, hardworking families in New York and across the nation struggle to make ends meet.
Bringing jobs and new economic opportunities to my community was a major focus of my career before being elected to Congress. When the Plattsburgh Air Force Base closed, I helped create the Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corporation to ensure the existing land and infrastructure was put to good use. Today there are more than 500 jobs there as a result of our efforts. I also worked for years with other private citizens to recruit businesses from Canada to Upstate New York, and I have continued the fight to attract new business in Congress.
Today, we need a multi-pronged strategy to keep our economy strong and to provide opportunities for our children:
*Close Offshore Tax Loopholes and Reduce Taxes for Companies that Create Jobs:
I believe companies receiving tax breaks from the government must live up to their end of the deal. That's why I support ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, while rewarding businesses that invest and create jobs at home. It is unacceptable that corporations can navigate the tax code and pay no taxes while New York's working families pay their share. In Congress, I have supported legislation to close tax loopholes for companies that outsource American jobs and legislation to create tax credits for companies that create jobs. I also support making the $5 million estate tax exemption permanent -- a threshold that will exclude nearly all family farms and small businesses in our region -- and making the Bush tax cuts permanent for the middle class.
*Protect and Grow New York Agriculture:
Agriculture is a major component of New York's economy. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I am working in Congress to ensure producers receive a fair price for their product and to reduce burdensome government regulation of family farms. As Congress reauthorizes the Farm Bill in 2012, I will fight for farm policies that benefit both producers and consumers to keep our economy strong for hardworking New Yorkers.
*Job Training for the 21st Century Economy:
From recent college graduates, to veterans returning home from overseas, millions of Americans continue to confront in a weak job market. Moreover, recently unemployed workers, especially older workers, need a way to quickly retrain and reenter the workforce at a job that pays as well or better than the one they lost. In Congress, I have worked with local Chambers of Commerce to find funding for job training programs so that our workers have the skills employers are looking for.
*Make Our Colleges and Universities a Part of the Solution:
New York is home to some of the best colleges, technical schools and universities in the country. Supporting these institutions is critical to keeping young people in our communities and attracting outside investment that will grow our economy and support businesses large and small. As a Member of Congress, I have supported area colleges and universities by helping them get funding to attract top talent, and to pay for valuable projects that will benefit New Yorkers in the years ahead.
*Maximize Commerce with Canada:
Before being elected to Congress, I spent much of my career working to bring investments from Canadian businesses to New York to help create jobs. As a Member of Congress, I have worked closely with border officials from the U.S. and Canada to remove barriers to trade while ensuring that our northern border remains secure. The recent joint declaration between the President and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, United States-Canada Beyond the Border, represents a milestone in the relationship between our two countries and a great opportunity to boost economic development in the region. Among the initiatives in this Plan that will benefit New York's economy includes: hosting Canadian customs officers at a facility in Massena to pre-clear goods and travelers destined for Canada; developing a bi-national plan to bring down the time a passenger or good waits at the border to be inspected and cleared; and initiating a number of pilot programs designed to expedite exports into Canada for a variety of industrial sectors. These initiatives, among others, will help the region attract investments and tourism from abroad and stimulate the local economy.
*Protect and Improve Local Infrastructure:
To attract businesses and create jobs, we must improve and maintain our region's infrastructure. I have supported local communities by fighting for high-value infrastructure projects including replacing the collapsed Lake Champlain Bridge, repairing the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge, expanding the Alexandria Bay Land Port of Entry, and supporting the construction of I-98. Investments like these grow our economy and create jobs, both in the short and long term.
*Keep Fort Drum Strong:
The talented and dynamic workforce and resources housed at and around Fort Drum make it a tremendous economic engine for the region. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I have worked hard to ensure Fort Drum maintains its critical role in our national defense.
*Make It In America and Hold China Accountable:
A strong American manufacturing sector helped create a strong American middle class. Reversing our manufacturing decline -- in New York and across the country -- is critical to rebuilding our economy. I'm focused in Congress on creating an environment where manufacturing can thrive -- which starts with holding China accountable for its unfair currency manipulation that costs American jobs.