Congressman Peter Roskam

Representing the 6th District of Illinois

Cut & Grow to Win the Future

Feb 1, 2011
Opinion Piece

In last week's State of the Union speech President Obama talked about how America needs to become more competitive in order to 'win the future.' He's absolutely right. The President had the the right tone and strong rhetoric on many issues. However, I fear he won't follow up on those logical, commonsense policies. For both Illinois and America's sake, I hope he comes through on his rhetoric, and we make our economy more competitive to 'win the future.'

To accomplish that goal, taxes and government spending need to be addressed immediately. Saying in a speech that we should become more competitive economically is one thing - implementing the right policies to make it happen is another.

House Republicans are making this a cut and grow Congress. We are working to cut spending and anti-growth government regulations in order to grow the economy and private sector jobs. It's a stark contrast from the last few years where democrats have pursued a philosophy of more government spending that ultimately raised unemployment. The numbers don't lie: record-setting deficits and near double-digit unemployment, in Illinois and the U.S., for almost two years now confirm that a new way is needed.

-- Republicans In Action --

House Republicans have already demonstrated our commitment to cut and grow's pro-growth policies. The first week Congress was back in session in 2011 we passed a five percent cut to our own office budgets. In a time of economic hardship, families all over the country have tightened their belts to make ends meet; it's only logical that elected Members of Congress do the same to their office budgets.

We also repealed PelosiCare. This enormous takeover of the healthcare system is a job-destroying mistake that hurts consumers and employers, adding to our federal debt by creating new entitlement programs, taxes, and harmful regulations.

In the week following the repeal of PelosiCare, House Republicans voted to to roll back federal spending to 2008 levels or less. Then, I led the debate on the House floor on a YouCut vote to eliminate $617 million in government spending by eliminating public financing for presidential elections. YouCut is an innovative new program from the Republican Leader Eric cantor that allows the public to vote online for a series of budget cuts that Republicans will bring to the floor for an up or down vote. I'm happy to announce this YouCut of $617 million passed the House.

Every dollar we cut from government budgets is another dollar that remains in the pockets of families, small businesses, entrepreneurs and investors, allowing jobs to be created. Its a simple, commonsense way to get our economy working again.

-- A Fiscal Trainwreck In Illinois --

As Republicans in Washington work to create jobs, Gov. Pat Quinn is imposing policies that destroy them. By raising the personal income tax rate 67%, and the business income tax rate by 46%, the Governor ensures that, overnight, Illinois becomes less competitive. Almost as soon as the Chicago Tribune slammed the tax hike as "unconscionable" and Mayor Daley called it "crazy," neighboring governors from Indiana and Wisconsin wisely began praising their own states as havens of lower taxes for businesses large and small.

In fact, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey even began running newspaper and radio ads throughout Illinois to lure businesses away.

What Indiana, Wisconsin and New Jersey have learned is that economic competitiveness begins and ends with low tax rates and prudent government spending. As the President made clear in his address last week, Illinois and America compete on a global playing field. The global nature of our economies can swing both ways, however, because businesses with thousands of employees, or even just a handful, can now compete around the world.

This means businesses will pick up and move to places with lower tax rates and manageable levels of public debt, taking with them the jobs and tax revenue that otherwise would stay at home.

The President said a version of the word "compete" 12 times in his 60 minute speech. But the gap between reality and truly competitive economies is not bridged by rhetoric. House Republicans believe it is bridged by cutting spending so that the private sector can grow jobs and the economy.