When I ran for Congress in 2014, I committed to seeking solutions that lead to job creation and rising income and wages for hard-working Arkansans and Americans. As a business person and entrepreneur, I wanted to be a voice for faster economic growth. I wanted to bring my experience as a former chamber of commerce volunteer to Congress to champion skilled and vocational job creation and expand good training and career opportunities for all Arkansans.
As a former local business owner and community banker, I knew the limitations of our old, complex tax code and the burden it placed on our local economic growth. I knew the need for significant change which is why one of my first act as Congressman was to cosponsor the Tax Code Termination Act, which would repeal most of the former tax code and required Congress to have a new federal tax system in place. Our families, businesses, and auto manufacturers all wanted – and deserved – a tax code that’s not only fair and simple, but that also will spur economic development and growth. My purpose in cosponsoring the Tax Code Termination act was to see who would defend the status quo!
So, it was refreshing that in 2016, House Republicans outlined an approach to tax reform that would cut taxes for most Arkansas families and let 90% of Arkansans have a simpler method of filing during tax time. Also, we proposed an overhaul of business taxation, closed loopholes, broadened the base, and made the U.S. tax system internationally competitive. Also, importantly for our families, our tax revisions doubled the child tax credit and provided needed funds for healthcare and other family needs. With hard work in the U.S. Senate and support from the President in his first year, this major tax reform and simplification was signed into law on in December 2017. This reform is a vast improvement over the old code – that status quo – and has resulted in higher wages, new job creation, and more career opportunities. Companies are investing millions in new plants and equipment and bringing jobs back from overseas. Over the last three years our economy added 7 million new jobs, prior to the Covid19 pandemic.
January 2020 dawned with the best U.S. economy in 50 years. We had the lowest unemployment rate since Richard Nixon was president. We had the lowest unemployment rate recorded for Hispanics and African Americans. America was looking forward to 1.5 years of economic expansion. It was that same month that we learned that China was the set by an expanding novel coronavirus known as COVID – 19. That would change the outlook for the U.S. job market and the economy. Fortunately, we entered the year with an outstanding economic growth rate, strong financial institutions a well-trained workforce and a talented team at the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve. It's that strong financial underpinning with actions taken by Congress that will beat the virus’s economic effect and return America to economic growth in the coming months.