As a small business owner, I know first-hand the devastating impact our economy is having on Illinois families and small businesses. Unfortunately, Washington has failed to provide solutions to help regular Americans get back to work.
There are several proposals that are downright dangerous. Republicans in Congress have proposed lowering the minimum wage and eliminating workplace safety standards. The House Republican Budget turns Medicare into a Voucher system that makes seniors pay $6,400 more, while Millionaires would get a $200,000 tax break. I will oppose these measures.
I have a different vision, and it starts with the principle that America is only as strong as its middle class. We need short-term measures that immediately create jobs, while addressing our long-term fiscal health by cutting wasteful spending but maintaining our investments that create jobs.
Below are five common-sense ideas that can be paid for by ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, ending corporate tax loopholes and getting serious about cutting wasteful spending.
1. Helping Small Businesses Grow: Small businesses drive job growth in America, and as owners of a small bakery, my wife and I are familiar with the challenges they face. We need more certainty – not partisan brinksmanship like we saw during the debt ceiling debate – to foster a growth-friendly environment. And we need to work with banks to ensure that qualified small businesses gain access to the credit they need to meet payroll and expand.
2. Encouraging Job Creation in Illinois, Not Overseas: We need to end tax breaks for American companies that ship jobs overseas and use that money to provide tax credits to companies that hire workers here. In addition, I support "Buy American" laws to protect domestic manufactures pursuing government contracts with taxpayer dollars.
3. Investing in Clean Technology, Clean Energy and High-Tech Manufacturing: America needs a long-term plan to end its dependence on foreign oil by investing in clean technologies. And while oil companies continue to reap record profits, we subsidize them with over $4 billion a year in tax breaks.
Instead, we should use this money and to invest in clean technologies that will both put people to work now while bringing down energy costs in the long run. America's ability to innovate is our strongest asset, and I support programs that reward and create incentives for new high tech innovations that create jobs here in America.
4. Educating for Tomorrow's Economy: America needs more engineers, scientists and skilled workers, which has led to businesses looking overseas to meet their workforce demands. Investing in our schools and putting more emphasis on math, science and vocational skills will help us meet this challenge. School districts should be rewarded for incorporating technological and vocational training into their curriculums.
5. Investing in America's Crumbling Infrastructure: A limited investment will have a maximum return. For every dollar spent on infrastructure, America's GDP increases by $1.59. More importantly, for every billion spent on improving our aging transportation system and other infrastructure projects, over 30,000 jobs are created while promoting longer-term economic growth.
In the (Illinois) Senate, I have worked to fund infrastructure projects that leverage private investment, creating thousands of real, living-wage jobs. We can use these strategies in Washington, along with public-private partnerships, to maximize job creation while rebuilding our roads, bridges, schools, airports and railways.
Today is Tuesday, May 21, the 141st day of 2013. There are 224 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: On Monday the 11th inst. on Center Ridge in Mercer County,some citizens got out their cannon to celebrate the taking of Richmond. The gun wasoverloaded and burst. No one was injured, but one 30-pound piece went though thesecond story of a house. 1888 -- 125 years ago: The old folks concert at the Harper Theater last night to benefit St.Luke's Cottage Hospital, attracted a large audience. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Unless depredation by vandals in Rock Island parks is halted,special policemen will be assigned to night duty to protect the flowers and other property. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Station WHBF has received a special citation from Washington forits participation in Air Mail Week, which was observed this week throughout the nation. 1963 -- 50 years ago: A 10-year high in employment in the Quad-City area was reachedat the end of the last quarter, according to an industrial employment barometer releasedtoday. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Pee Wee teams will be able to play baseball and softball as usualon Diamond Three at Dorrance Park this summer, but after that, the ball field is doomed.County crews have put the diamond back in shape after heavy trucks marred the playingfield earlier this spring. Illinois Department of Transportation crews drove onto it to makeborings for the relocation of the junction of Illinois 84 and the Port Byron-Hillsdale road.