U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville, second from left, participates in a roundtable discussion Thursday at Pat O’Brien Chevrolet with Medina city and county officials and business owners.
HALEE HEIRONIMUS / GAZETTE Enlarge
MEDINA TWP. — U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville, said he hopes September will be a turning point for Congress.
During a roundtable discussion Thursday morning at Pat O’Brien Chevrolet, Gibbs talked with more than a dozen Medina city and county officials and business owners about various topics, including tax and welfare reforms.
“We absolutely need to do tax reform,” Gibbs said. “We are uncompetitive in the world in tax policy. It’s very important that we get this done and we need to lower the rates.”
Gibbs’ visit here follows President Donald Trump’s talk Wednesday afternoon at a manufacturing plant in Springfield, Mo., to push for overhauling the nation’s tax system.
The president said his goals include simplifying the tax code, lowering the rate for corporations from the 15-35 percent range, and bringing relief for the middle class.
“I support his plan, and I think all Republicans do,” Gibbs said. “My concern is under the reconciliation rules. With taxes you have to lower the deficit. I don’t know how to significantly lower the rates and not have an increased deficit over the next two years.”
He continued: “We give everyone an opportunity, but we don’t guarantee success. That dissatisfies people to go out and take risks. What makes this country great is giving people an opportunity to chase their dreams.”
Once tax reform is addressed, Gibbs said Congress should begin work on welfare reform.
“We’ve incentivized people for not working in this country by all the programs that we have,” he said.
Gibbs gave an example of a single mother with limited education who wants to work and receives government assistance, such as food stamps and Medicaid.
“She goes and gets a job, but she’s at the bottom of the economic ladder,” he said. “That becomes a math problem. She starts losing benefits and is not making enough to solve the math problem … so we incentivized her to not try to find a job.”
Larry Johns, president of McJak Candy Co. in Medina, said the company sees employees who experience similar problems.
“We have a lot of people that will come in and say they can only work through Thursday or else they will work too much and lose their benefits,” Johns said. “We used to be able to incent them but ironically the more we increase the pay, the less hours some of them can work because it trips a benefit.”
Gibbs said there needs to be a policy in place that weans people off government assistance.
“We need to have a graduated scale.”
Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or email@example.com.