Before I became a member of Congress, I had a successful career in the private sector. I learned firsthand just how many obstacles our families and small businesses face, thanks to our overly complicated tax code and mounting government regulations.
I also know this because I addressed these issues when I served as the Senate Majority Leader of Michigan in the late 2000’s.
To give some context, former Governor John Engler had won Site Selection Magazine’s prestigious Governor’s Cup four years in a row. Our economy was growing. Fast forward to the end of Governor Jennifer Granholm’s administration, and per-capita personal income had taken one of the largest drops of any state over a nine-year period since 1929. More than 800,000 jobs were lost and the unemployment rate skyrocketed to 15 percent. Not surprisingly, a common bumper sticker in our state read, “Last one in Michigan, turn out the lights.”
As Majority Leader of the Michigan Senate – the only Republican body of government at the time – I knew we had to take the wheel.
We must focus on simplifying the tax code for everyone, with lower rates, so it’s easier for hardworking families and small businesses to do their taxes and have the peace of mind they deserve.
To start, we closed government budget shortfalls by cutting and reforming government spending, instead of relying on tax increases. Spending from state resources decreased every year from 2006 to 2010. We introduced and passed reforms to the state’s Medicaid system, one of the fastest-growing cost drivers, to root out fraud and waste.
Before leaving state government at the end of 2010, my priority was to prepare enough legislative solutions for our newly-elected Governor and Legislature so they could get to work on day one. And that’s exactly what we did.
Our reforms paved the way for Michigan’s recovery under Republican leadership. We’re now a top 10 pro-business state and have an unemployment rate of 5 percent. In 2017, Michigan is ranked 12th among all states for overall business tax climate.
America faces many of the same challenges Michigan once did – and that’s why I came to Congress. We can absolutely get our economy back on track, just as we did in the Comeback State.
It begins with tax reform.
Over the last 30 years, the federal tax code has grown to more than 75,000 pages. Within that mess, you will find hundreds of preferences and subsidies that pick winners and losers.
We must put an end to the special deals for special interests. We should be encouraging competition, rather than perpetuating an economic drag.
We must also focus on simplifying the tax code for everyone, with lower rates, so it’s easier for hardworking families and small businesses to do their taxes and have the peace of mind they deserve.
House Republicans have a plan that makes it easier to create jobs, increase wages and generate opportunities for everyone. Congress and the administration must work together to create the best possible environment for jobs to stay and grow in Michigan, and across the nation.
That’s the way to a comeback. I’ve seen what works in our state, and I’m committed to delivering that same approach in Congress.
Republican Mike Bishop represents Michigan’s 8th Congressional District.