Speaker of the House Ryan vis­its, touts tax plan

Kent County News - - FRONT PAGE - By DANIEL DIVILIO ddivilio@thekent­coun­tynews.com

— Hours after see­ing a bud­get res­o­lu­tion pass in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Speaker Paul Ryan was in Ch­ester­town for a tour of a lead­ing man­u­fac­turer here and to tout Repub­li­cans’ pro­posed tax re­form plan.

Ryan, a Repub­li­can from Wis­con­sin, was joined by U.S. Rep. Andy Har­ris, R-Md.-1st, and Jay Tim­mons, CEO of the National As­so­ci­a­tion of Man­u­fac­tur­ing, at Dixon Valve & Cou­pling Co., where the speaker met em­ploy­ees and an­swered their ques­tions on how the tax and bud­get plans could af­fect them.

With a protest by lo­cal res­i­dents out- side and a bat­tery of tele­vi­sion cam­eras inside, Ryan spoke about how the Repub­li­cans’ plans will grow the econ­omy, ex­pand man­u­fac­tur­ing in the United States and put more money in work­ers’ pock­ets. In­creased growth will be needed to off­set the tax cuts that would oth­er­wise add $1.5 tril­lion to the deficit over the next 10 years, ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports.

“The rea­son we’re here is we want our coun­try to pros­per. We want our peo­ple to pros­per. And we now, like it or not, live in a 21st cen­tury global econ­omy. And be­cause we live in a global econ­omy, we face global com­pe­ti­tion. And we need to be ahead of the global com­pe­ti­tion if we want to pros­per. We need to be ahead of the global com­pe­ti­tion if we want to have good jobs, good fu­tures that pay us, that give us good pay­checks, bet­ter take­home pay. This is what we’re try­ing to achieve,” Ryan said.

For Dick Goodall, CEO of Dixon Valve, a com­pany started by his grand­fa­ther in 1916, the visit was a chance to high­light National Man­u­fac­tur­ing Day, Fri­day, Oct. 6, and the im­por­tant role the sec­tor plays in the econ­omy.

“This is man­u­fac­tur­ing week and man­u­fac­tur­ing is about mak­ing stuff. But peo­ple make stuff and peo­ple are the key to ev­ery­thing. It’s not what we make. It’s the peo­ple we have mak­ing it. So we’re ex­cited we’re pro­mot­ing jobs. Hope­fully some of these things

we’re work­ing on in D.C. will en­able us to rein­vest even more money in the lo­cal econ­omy,” Goodall said.

Har­ris called Dixon Valve a “first-rate com­pany,” one that is com­pet­i­tive on the global market.

“The last time I was here, about four years ago, I’ll tell you some of this ma­chin­ery wasn’t here. But that’s the story of Amer­i­can busi­ness. The fact of the mat­ter is we’ve got to keep on mov­ing be­cause if we don’t, our com­peti­tors will,” Har­ris said.

Ryan thanked Har­ris for be­ing help­ful in Con­gress on a num­ber of is­sues.

The speaker said Mary­land’s East­ern Shore is not much dif­fer­ent than his home state of Wis­con­sin.

“We have corn, beans and cows where I come from, and man­u­fac­tur­ing. You have corn, beans, chick­ens and man­u­fac­tur­ing and ocean. Other than that, we come from very sim­i­lar ar­eas,” Ryan told the crowd.

Keep­ing the United States com­pet­i­tive was the mes­sage Har­ris and Ryan aimed to drive home. Ryan spoke about how the Repub­li­can tax re­form plan could do that.

For busi­nesses, the plan would lower the cor­po­rate tax rate, al­low busi­nesses to write off or ex­pense the cost of new in­vest­ments and im­pose a low one-time tax rate on wealth ac­cu­mu­lated over­seas.

“So cut­ting taxes is great for busi­nesses to let busi­nesses make more money. But how is that going to lower my taxes or make sure it comes back to me? Be­cause I’m 20 years old and I’m still try­ing to move out of my par­ents’ house,” asked a man who works for Dixon.

Among the re­forms, the Repub­li­can tax pro­posal seeks to re­duce the num­ber of in­come tax brack­ets from sev- en to three, dou­ble the stan­dard de­duc­tion and in­crease the child tax credit, elim­i­nate a num­ber of loop­holes and sim­plify the tax process to the point where peo­ple are fil­ing re­turns the size of post­cards.

“We’re going to lower your taxes your­self so that you have a big­ger pay­check, more take-home pay, so you keep more of your own money,” Ryan told the Dixon em­ployee.

Ryan said tax re­form could im­prove a decade of “pretty flat” eco­nomic growth. He said that lack of growth is the rea­son wages have been stag­nant and liv­ing stan­dards have not im­proved.

“We haven’t had eco­nomic growth like we used to have for like a decade. We can get it. We can do it. And tax re­form is the way we’ll get this done,” Ryan told the crowd.

One Dixon Valve em­ployee asked about con­trol­ling gov­ern­ment spend­ing.

Ryan agreed that spend­ing needs to be reined in.

“But if we want to con­trol our spend­ing and re­duce our debt in the fu­ture, you need eco­nomic growth. We need peo­ple work­ing and get­ting good jobs with good wages so they pay taxes so rev­enue comes into the gov­ern­ment to fix this fis­cal prob­lem that we have,” Ryan said.

Har­ris agreed, say­ing cut­ting spend­ing will not re­duce the debt alone. He said Repub­li­cans have a plan to spend down the debt over 10 years and eco­nomic growth is an im­por­tant part of that.

“We think this is an im­por­tant first step. Get our econ­omy going again,” Har­ris said. “Let me tell you some­thing, when we get our econ­omy going, there’s no econ­omy in the world that can beat ours.”

An­other Dixon Valve em­ployee spoke about the need for Democrats and Repub­li­cans to work to­gether.

“That’s my big­gest con­cern, how do we start work­ing to­gether as Amer­i­cans to solve these prob­lems,” he said.

Ryan said about 80 per­cent of what Con­gress does is bi­par­ti­san. He said some larger is­sues like health care are where the views di­verge.

“On taxes, we re­ally be­lieve we have the con­sen­sus to do that,” Ryan said.

One woman from Dixon Valve spoke about the im­por­tance of sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math pro­grams in schools.

Ryan agreed that STEM pro­grams are im­por­tant. He ac­knowl­edged con­cerns over a skills gap be­tween U.S. stu­dents and their coun­ter­parts in other coun­tries.

Ryan wants to see ed­u­ca­tors part­ner with lo­cal busi­nesses like Dixon Valve to bet­ter learn what skills are needed in the com­mu­nity. He said that would as­sure stu­dents can find jobs and busi­nesses can find em­ploy­ees.

“We need to go back to the day where two-year school is cool. We need to have ca­reer and tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion where you can go and get a good de­gree in a vo­ca­tion that gets you a re­ally good job,” Ryan said.

After Ryan’s visit, Dixon em­ployee and Ch­ester­town res­i­dent Amanda Jackson said she thought Ryan had a good mes­sage. Jackson said Con­gress and Ryan have a lot of big de­ci­sions to make.

“I only hope he will make the best ones for the peo­ple — peo­ple like us,” Jackson said.

After a closed-door round­table dis­cus­sion with Tim­mons and oth­ers, Ryan came back out to the shop floor for a news con­fer­ence.

He took ques­tions on calls for ban­ning gun parts called “bump stocks” fol­low­ing the mas­sacre Sun­day, Oct. 1 in Las Ve­gas, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s lat­est state­ments on the Iran nu­clear deal and whether or not Con­gress should in­ves­ti­gate pur­vey­ors of fake news.

PHOTO BY DANIEL DIVILIO

House Speaker Paul Ryan, cen­ter, tours Dixon Valve & Cou­pling Co. in Ch­ester­town Thursday, Oct. 5, with Con­gress­man Andy Har­ris, left.

PHOTO BY DANIEL DIVILIO

House Speaker Paul Ryan, left, speaks with Toni Du­rant of Dixon Valve & Cou­pling Co. in Ch­ester­town Thursday, Oct. 5, dur­ing a tour of the plant with Con­gress­man Andy Har­ris, right.

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