Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky, left, listens as Congressman Leonard Lance speaks during the meeting this afternoon. Credits: Christy Potter Kass
Congressman Leonard Lance met with some Westfield business owners this afternoon as part of his ongoing "summer listening session." Credits: Christy Potter Kass
Lance: Pending Tax Increases Would Impact Job Creation in New Jersey
Monday, July 30, 2012 • 4:06pm
WESTFIELD, NJ – Congressman Leonard Lance made a stop in Westfield today to talk with area business leaders about how pending tax increases will affect the creation of jobs in New Jersey.
The meeting, held at Robert Treat Deli downtown, included Mayor Andy Skibitsky and several Westfield-area business leaders, many of whom had plenty of questions for Lance on topics such as unemployment benefits, the job market, and health care.
Lance talked about what he sees as the importance of extending all of the Bush-era tax cuts, which are set to expire on Jan. 1, 2013.
“New Jersey job creators need economic certainty from Washington so that they can expand and hire,” Lance said. “I firmly believe that raising taxes on anyone in a down economy is a bad idea. Rather than raising taxes to fuel more wasteful Washington spending, it’s my hope Congress will work in a bipartisan fashion to help get America back on track and stop the tax hike.”
He mentioned some particular taxes he is against, such as the estate tax.
“I don’t think death should be a taxable event,” he said.
One small business owner asked the Congressman about the recent decision to extend unemployment benefits, saying he recently tried to hire two people, and both told him they would rather wait until their unemployment ran out before going back to work.
Lance said that sort of attitude is a problem, and he was not in favor of extending unemployment benefits but rather thinks that the country should be creating more employment.
Another business owner said he tends to outsource jobs instead of hiring people, adding that it’s a shame as he would rather hire employees.
“And that’s why small employers are reluctant to hire new people,” Lance responded. “Small business owners are reluctant to hire people because they are uncertain about the tax policy, administrative rules and healthcare. Most small business people want to hire employees, but they are holding back due to the tremendous uncertainty that exists now in Washington.”
He added that he disagrees with the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding the healthcare legislation, and said that if it goes forward, many small business owners will choose not to cover their employees, which will ultimately lead to a single-payer system, which he opposes.
Skibitsky said he’s afraid the national debt is putting the country on the same course as others that have suffered severe economic problems, including Greece and Spain.
“We have to do a better job of spending less,” Lance responded. “I will continue to support a balanced budget amendment, but it’s not likely to receive the 2/3 vote it needs to pass, especially in the Senate.
He criticized the Senate for not passing a budget document of any kind in the past three years, while the House has passed two budget documents in recent years.
“It’s difficult to negotiate with the Senate if it refuses to pass any kind of budget document,” Lance said.
The conversation moved back to taxes, and Lance noted that President Obama’s tax plan – which calls for a tax increase on those earning $250,000 a year – would “disproportionately hurt New Jerseys taxpayers and employers.”
He cited a recent study by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, which said New Jersey residents would be adversely affected by the pending tax hike.
He also cited a recent Ernst & Young study that claims more than 20,000 New Jersey jobs could be lost should the tax cuts expire.
Skibitsky thanked Lance for taking the time to meet with Westfield’s small business leaders.
“Westfield’s small business owners want both parties in Washington to work together to stop the tax hike,” he said. “We appreciate the fact that Congressman Lance is listening to the needs of our community’s job creators.”