As Prepared For Delivery:
Thank you, Chairman Yarmuth, for holding this important hearing, and thank you to our witnesses for being here today. I especially want to extend a warm welcome to Ms. Lana Pol, a 2nd-generation family business owner from Pella, Iowa. Thank you, Ms. Pol, for traveling to Washington, D.C., to share your story with us.
As we will hear from Ms. Pol today, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is working. It is delivering meaningful relief to workers, families, job creators, and communities across the country after years of sky-high taxes and a sluggish economy.
A little more than a year after President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, our economy is strong again – with more than double the GDP growth seen during the Obama Administration – and Americans are feeling the difference every day.
Americans are seeing bigger paychecks – and getting to keep more of their hard-earned money to save, spend and invest the way they see fit.
Wages and salaries increased by more than 3 percent in 2018 – the largest percent increase in more than a decade. According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, 80 percent of wage earners have seen an increase in their take-home pay. Americans are seeing more jobs.
There are 7.3 million job openings – the most job openings since 2000, when the Department of Labor first started recording this data. Unemployment fell to the lowest level since the 1960s in 2018 at 3.9 percent, and CBO projects unemployment will continue to decline to 3.5 percent in 2019.
Americans are feeling more optimistic about the future. Consumer confidence is at an 18-year high, and, according to a new Gallup poll released earlier this month, nearly 70 percent believe their personal finances will continue to improve next year.
Job creators in my district are seizing this opportunity. One of my constituents, Rick Barrows, runs Multi-Craft Contractors – a construction and industrial services business with roughly 700 employees. In talking with Rick, it’s clear how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has made a meaningful difference, not only for him and his family, but for all of his employees.
With lower taxes, Rick was able to double the employer contribution to his employee’s 401(k)s. He was able to invest in leadership and workforce development. And, with the ability to immediately write off the cost of capital investments, Rick was able to dramatically expand his operation, acquiring and renovating an adjacent property – ensuring his business can continue to grow. These are the real-world benefits I’m hearing about back home.
Despite these successes, some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are looking for ways to reverse this progress and increase taxes on hardworking Americans – all so that they can pay for more expensive, government-run programs.
As we recently heard from Congressional Budget Office Director, Dr. Keith Hall, these efforts are likely to have significant negative consequences for our economy and the constituents we represent. All of us sitting on this dais today have a responsibility to get our fiscal house in order – and raising taxes that will stifle growth and investment is not the answer.
As I have said before, we don’t have a revenue problem – in fact, quite the opposite. With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, federal revenues in Fiscal Year 19 are expected to increase by $186 billion. What we have is a spending problem – a fact many Democrats are choosing to ignore. Today, mandatory spending accounts for 70 percent of all federal spending.
Without taking into account proposals for massive, new trillion-dollar entitlement programs, mandatory spending is expected to increase to 78 percent of all federal spending by 2029.
I hope that our discussion today illuminates for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is helping local business owners like Ms. Pol create more jobs, increase paychecks and create more economic opportunities for families.
And, that to truly address the fiscal challenges facing our nation today and future generations, we must tackle the core driver of our ballooning debt: out-of-control spending.
With that, Mr. Chairman, thank you and I yield back.