Andy Har­ris dis­cusses tax re­form, health care

Times-Record - - News - Fol­low Caro­line/Dorch­ester Edi­tor Dustin Holt on Twit­ter @Dustin_S­tarDem. By DUSTIN HOLT dholt@ches­pub.com

— The Cam­bridge Ro­tary Club hosted U.S. Rep. Andy Har­ris, R-1st, Thurs­day, Aug. 10, dur­ing his visit to the county.

Har­ris dis­cussed sev­eral top­ics, in­clud­ing tax re­form, health care and for­eign pol­icy. He said he be­lieves Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will unite the coun­try and help the coun­try grow by pack­ag­ing sev­eral key re­forms to­gether in a “Big Deal” to al­low for greater bi­par­ti­san sup­port so ev­ery­one gets some­thing that will ben­e­fit them.

He said one way to help the Eastern Shore econ­omy grow would be to lower the cor­po­rate tax rate. He said the Eastern Shore would be the per­fect lo­ca­tion for world­class man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties be­cause the area has a highly skilled work­force and rea­son­able cost of liv­ing.

“You won’t do that un­til you get our cor­po­rate tax rate pol­icy right,” Har­ris said. “Our cor­po­rate tax rate is 35 per­cent, the high­est among western na­tions. We are com­pet­ing with Ire­land, where the cor­po­rate tax rate is 13 per­cent.”

He said Google uses Ire­land to post its prof­its be­cause of the coun­try’s lower tax rate com­pared to post­ing the prof­its in Cal­i­for­nia.

“There is bi­par­ti­san agree­ment to fix this,” he said. “I think we are go­ing to get there.”

An­other busi­ness topic Har­ris dis­cussed was the tax pol­icy dif­fer­ence be­tween PassThrough En­ti­ties and C corps.

He said Pass-Through En­ti­ties are sole pro­pri­etor­ships, part­ner­ships, LLCs and S cor­po­ra­tions, which are used by many small busi­nesses, while C corps are sep­a­rate tax­able en­ti­ties. He said three years ago, the tax rate for PassThrough En­ti­ties sur­passed C corps.

“You are ac­tu­ally pun­ished if you are a sole pro­pri­etor and you choose not to have a cor­po­ra­tion,” he said. “That is not right. We should equal­ize those two. We have to tackle that this fall. The pres­i­dent wants to make Amer­ica open for busi­ness again. We have to at­tract busi­nesses back to the United States. We are go­ing to do that.”

On the health care front, Har­ris said the topic con­tin­ues to be a huge is­sue in Congress. He said be­fore the Af­ford­able Care Act, more than 40 mil­lion Amer­i­cans were unin­sured, and some­thing had to change. He said the change, though, needs to be fixed be­cause it did not work and is ex­pen­sive.

He be­lieves a sin­gle-payer sys­tem is not the an­swer.

“The only way those sys­tems work to save money is you tell peo­ple here is the per­son you are go­ing to see, and this is when you are go­ing to see them, and if you need some­thing, you are go­ing to wait in line,” he said. “That is not the way Amer­i­cans are. Amer­i­cans just don’t ac­cept that.”

Har­ris said the so­lu­tion should be to dras­ti­cally cut the profit cap for the in­sur­ance com­pa­nies from the cur­rent level of 20 per­cent.

“Hon­estly, it should be just sev­eral per­cent,” he said. “What the pres­i­dent wants to do, and I agree with him, is you al­low larger as­so­ci­a­tions, as well.

“You want to as­sem­ble peo­ple into large pools that can self in­sure. Then you are not depend­ing upon the in­sur­ance com­pany. When the in­sur­ance com­pany as­sem­bles the pool, then their prof­its are larger.”

He said pur­chas­ing in other states would be help­ful be­cause it al­lows for larger pools.

“The pres­i­dent strongly agrees in a multi-state mar­ket,” he said.

On the for­eign pol­icy front, with North Korea and Rus­sian in the news each day, Har­ris be­lieves Amer­ica show­ing strength is vi­tal.

“I do be­lieve you achieve peace through strength in this world,” he said. “I think that is the way the world works. There are a lot of bul­lies in the world.

“They re­ally only re­spond to one thing, and that is strength. That is how we won the Cold War. That is how we are go­ing to pre­vail now.”

Har­ris said Pres­i­dent Barack Obama ex­per­i­mented with the al­ter­na­tive, the diplo­matic way, which in­cluded about 20 per­cent less spend­ing for the mil­i­tary, but he be­lieves the diplo­matic way did not work.

“World peace is in­cred­i­ble im­por­tant for our econ­omy be­cause we are the largest econ­omy in the world,” he said. “We de­pend upon free trade through­out the world to keep our econ­omy go­ing. Free trade doesn’t oc­cur when you don’t have peace in the world. We are see­ing some of that now in the South China Sea.

“I think this pres­i­dent is go­ing to have the right bal­ance. You speak softly, but you’ve got to carry the big stick.”

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

U.S. Rep. Andy Har­ris, R-1st, speaks at the Cam­bridge Ro­tary Club Thurs­day, Aug. 10.

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