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pd12ja04 Remarks at a Bush-Cheney Luncheon in Knoxville...


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    We gave small-business owners incentives to invest by raising the 
deductibility limits. And I think you'll hear some discussion of that 
today. We reduced taxes on dividends and capital gains, which was 
particularly important for retired citizens who rely upon dividend 
income to--in their latter years.
    So we did a lot. We've done a lot. And I'm telling you, the tax 
relief came at the right time and made a big difference for economic 
growth.
    There's more to do. First of all, every one of these business 
leaders and owners will tell you that if there's uncertainty in the Tax 
Code, it will make it difficult for them to plan for the future. 
Businessowners like certainty. They want to know what the rules are.

[[Page 44]]

Much of the tax relief I described goes away soon. Congress passed the 
tax relief, but they didn't make it permanent. Job creation is vital. 
Permanency in the Tax Code will mean more job creation. Congress must 
make every part of the tax package permanent.
    These business leaders will tell you, health care costs are rising 
and are difficult to manage. We need association health care plans to 
allow small businesses to pool the risk across jurisdictional 
boundaries. Congress must act. We need medical liability reform. 
Frivolous lawsuits drive up the costs of health care. They affect the 
budgets of these small businesses. They also affect the Federal budget. 
I mean, if you think about what frivolous lawsuits do to the cost of 
Medicare and Medicaid and veterans' health benefits, you understand what 
I'm talking about. I mean, it's an enormous cost to the Federal budget. 
We got a good bill out of the House. The medical liability bill is stuck 
in the Senate. We need tort reform there; we need class action reform; 
we need asbestos reform if we expect this economy to continue to grow.
    We need an energy policy. Congress needs to give me an energy bill. 
I mean, it's hard for businesses to plan, particularly in the 
manufacturing sector, if you're wondering where you're going to get your 
next watt of energy. And so we need an energy bill. Congress needs to 
act. Congress needs to join this administration in listening to the 
voices of these entrepreneurs to figure out how to keep a progrowth 
agenda on the forefront. So long as anybody is looking for a job in 
America, this administration is going to be promoting a progrowth, pro-
entrepreneurial agenda.
    And I'm honored to be joined by entrepreneurs, strong, strong women 
who have taken the lead in their businesses and are providing a great 
service to our country. They're not only providing a wonderful example 
for people who are wondering whether or not I can own my own company but 
whether--but providing the service of hiring people and keeping them at 
work and caring about their employees.
    I'm going to start off by Nancy Connolly. She is the president and 
CEO of Lasertone Corporation, Littleton, Massachusetts. Welcome.

[At this point, Ms. Connolly made brief remarks.]

    The President. Yes, see, Nancy hires 20--there's a lot of companies 
the size of Nancy's around the country that have got this sense of 
optimism. I mean it's--I don't think we would have had Nancy sitting 
here 2 years ago saying, ``Gosh, I look forward to hiring 20.'' I 
suspect she might have been saying, ``I hope to keep the 70.'' A lot of 
small businesses were just hanging on to what they had during tough 
economic times. And now this leader and this entrepreneur are saying, 
``20 minimum,'' it sounded like to me. And that's how this economy 
works. It's very important for people to understand it's the cumulative 
effect of many, many hirings that take place on a daily basis, 
particularly in the small-business sector, that affect economic growth 
and vitality.
    Thank you for doing what you're doing.
    Catherine, tell us about yourself and your business, Knowledge 
Information Solutions.

[Catherine Giordano, president and chief executive officer, Knowledge 
Information Solutions, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA, made brief remarks.]

    The President. I'm glad you're here, Catherine, thanks. One of the 
things I think is very interesting for people to understand that 
Catherine just said--she said the tax breaks that we focused for small-
business owners caused her to buy new equipment and new software. Well, 
somebody has to make that equipment, and somebody has to design that 
software and sell it. So my point is, is that it's important for our 
American citizens to understand the ripple effect of good tax policy. 
Good tax policy encourages an owner to make a decision. That decision 
then makes it more likely somebody else is going to find a job who will 
provide--in the company that provides the product--in Catherine's case, 
equipment and hardware.
    It's very important that this incentive stay in place because it 
is--you just heard one example of the decisionmaking process that takes 
place as a result of good tax policy. If the tax policy--if Congress 
lets this lapse, the ability to deduct to $100,000 of capital equipment, 
it would then cause her to make different decisions in the out-years. 
And so the

[[Page 45]]

Congress needs to be mindful of what tax policy does to the 
decisionmakers, the job creators, people like Catherine who made a 
rational decision based upon good policy.
    It's my honor to welcome right now--why don't we go with Sharon 
Evans. Sharon is the CEO of CFJ Manufacturing, Fort Worth, Texas.

[Ms. Evans made brief remarks and concluded by saying that she 
anticipated 25-percent growth next year which she believed was due to 
tax benefits.]

    The President. I disagree. I think it's related to vision and hard 
work and the Texas spirit. The tax relief helped, but none of these 
women should discount their courage and their vision and their 
willingness to take risk and to make wise decisions.
    Ms. Evans. I do have to commend you too, as well as--we utilize and 
we are a certified women-owned business, and your support of women in 
business has increased my customer base, which has, in fact, grown my 
business as well.
    The President. Yes, I think it's very important--what she's talking 
about is contracting. For example, at the Federal Government, we ought 
to bust these contracts down to smaller sizes. The role of contracting 
at the Federal level--the proper role of contracting obviously is to get 
good service for the Government but at the same time have the added 
dividend of enhancing the entrepreneurial spirit, is encouraging small-
business ownership, is to really achieve what we want to achieve, and 
that is to expand the ownership society in America.
    And by the way, the role of Government is not to create wealth but 
the environment in which the entrepreneur can flourish. Make no mistake 
about it, the role of Government is to create the architecture in which 
people are willing to take risk and make choice. But that doesn't happen 
unless somebody's got a good idea, works hard, dreams big, treats their 
employees with respect, and is capable. So thank you for giving 
Government the credit, but we don't deserve it.
    Let me call upon Maria Coakley David. She is the CFO of C.J. 
Coakley, Inc., right here in Falls Church, Virginia. Thanks for coming, 
Maria. And thank you for the hat.

[Ms. Coakley David made brief remarks.]

    The President. Well, let me talk about job hiring, particularly in 
the construction field. It's very important for these companies to 
understand who they're hiring. I'm excited about the fact that you're 
expanding your job base. I just want to make sure that you stay legal in 
your hiring practice. And we've got a problem here----
    Ms. Coakley David. It's a big concern as well for us, and I 
appreciate you bringing that up.
    The President. It's got to be a big concern. Well, I'm talking about 
this immigration issue that I brought up. My attitude is, any time an 
employer can't find an American worker to do the job, that--in this 
case, she ought to be able to hire a willing foreign worker, so long as 
that foreign worker has got a--we're going to issue a new card, a 
temporary-worker card.
    I don't like the idea of having an undocumented economy in the 
greatest country on the face of the Earth, where people walk miles 
across deserts at the hands of sometimes these ``coyote'' border 
smugglers who treat these people inhumanely. They get into our society. 
They're doing work, but they're doing work in an undocumented way, not 
aboveboard but below the surface. They can get exploited and have no 
recourse. And it's just flat wrong in America. And we ought to recognize 
the system hasn't worked.
    And so I proposed a plan that is a worker plan. It is not an 
automatic path to citizenship, what they call amnesty. It is a plan that 
recognizes reality in a commonsense way, so that when Maria's company 
starts expanding and she can't find somebody to lay tar on a hot August 
day and somebody else wants to because they've got a family to feed, she 
can find this person, and the person will show up to work. And by the 
way, that person ought to be able to go back to his or her family 
without being harassed, to be able to take money home, which is what 
they're trying to do.
    So this is a commonsense plan. It makes eminent sense. It recognizes 
the reality of today's workplace. We want our employers to be aggressive 
at hiring people, but we don't want them breaking the law. And we've got 
to recognize, in this society, there are

[[Page 46]]

just simply some jobs that are not being filled by American citizens.
    Ms. Coakley David. You're correct, and it is definitely a big 
concern for our company. We probably have 70 percent Hispanic workforce. 
We've recently hired a bilingual receptionist to help us communicate 
effectively. We have a lot of our newsletters translated in Spanish. And 
we do have to face the facts, and we would greatly benefit from your 
plan.
    The President. Yes, this is important. The other thing what she's 
faced with--first of all, the fact that you've got a Hispanic workforce 
means you're doing well. These are fine people, we know well in Texas. 
They're great people--great people.
    But there's a lot of false documentation. What kind of society is it 
where the system allows for false documentation, falsifying these 
different papers so Maria is not sure whether or not she's dealing with 
somebody she ought to be dealing with? We need to make this aboveboard. 
And by the way, it is humane to treat people with respect, citizen or 
not citizen. We want to treat people with the utmost respect in this 
country. This is America. It's the greatest country on the face of the 
Earth. We're not giving special privilege. They don't get to butt in 
line where somebody who wants to go through the process in a legal way. 
We're just recognizing reality in a commonsensical way. It's the right 
thing to do.

[Ms. Coakley David made additional remarks.]

    The President. You know, one of the most meaningful things that's 
happened to me since I've been the Governor--the President--Governor--
President. [Laughter] Oops--[laughter]--ex-Governor. I went to Bethesda 
Naval Hospital to give a fellow a Purple Heart, and at the same moment 
watched him--get a Purple Heart for action in Iraq--and at that same--
right after I gave him the Purple Heart, he was sworn in as a citizen of 
the United States, a Mexican citizen now a United States citizen.
    It's a pretty special country, isn't it, where people are willing to 
come not only to work to provide for their families but to wear this 
Nation's uniform and to go into harm's way for our peace and security. 
And Americans have got to recognize how special America is, and how 
lucky we are to be Americans in this country, and how a lot of really 
decent people would like to join us. We've just got to make sure the 
system is orderly and fair and meets national objectives.
    Lurita--Lurita Doan is with us. She is the president and CEO of New 
Technology Management in Reston, Virginia. Welcome.

[Ms. Doan made brief remarks.]

    The President. I'm here to thank you all. I think the--I hope you 
come away with the same sense of optimism I do about the future of this 
country when you hear these five women speak. I mean, this is a country 
which speaks to five entrepreneurs here on the stage and says, ``Dream 
big and go for it. Live your dream.'' Can you imagine a country where a 
woman like Lurita walks in to Kinko's and says, ``I think I'll start a 
business by printing my first business card,'' and here she is, 13 years 
later, speaking to the Nation about a business which is thriving and is 
going to hire 75 new people.
    It's a fabulous country, where people can dream big dreams and 
people can risk--take risk and achieve their dreams through hard work, 
clear vision, and a good idea. It's hard to be a small-business owner, 
particularly in hard times. It's easier when the whole economy is 
growing, but it's even hard then. It's hard to make the right decisions. 
But obviously, I'm surrounded by success, people who have been able to 
realize their dreams and accomplish what is not easy to accomplish.
    Government can help, but we can't make these women smart; we can't 
make them dream; we can't make them compassionate. These are choices 
they've made. And our job is to stand with them and to serve as a wind 
at their back as they provide not only valuable goods and services but, 
more importantly for me right now and for the country, is to provide a 
chance for somebody to find work--find work so they can fulfill their 
obligations as a mom or a dad.
    I want to thank you all for joining us. Thank you for being great 
Americans. I appreciate you helping me to explain how our economy works 
and why we should be optimistic about our future. May God bless your

[[Page 47]]

endeavors and God bless you all. May God continue to bless our great 
country. Thank you very much.

Note: The discussion began at 10:45 a.m. at the Department of Commerce. 
In his remarks, the President referred to Secretary of Commerce Donald 
L. Evans.


<DOC>
[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]
 [frwais.access.gpo.gov]
                         

[Page 47-50]
 
Monday, January 12, 2004
 
Volume 40_Number 2
Pages 15	52
 
Week Ending Friday, January 9, 2004
 
Remarks to the National Catholic Educational Association

January 9, 2004

    Welcome, please. Thanks for coming. Please be seated. Thanks for 
coming. [Laughter] Welcome to the people's house. We're glad you're 
here.
    The last 100 years, the leadership of the National Catholic 
Education Association has been vital in advancing the work of Catholic 
schools around the Nation and, therefore, has been vital to the hopeful 
future of America. I'm honored to join you for celebrating your 100th 
anniversary. And this is a fitting place to celebrate the anniversary.
    Catholic schools carry out a great mission, to serve God by building 
knowledge and character of our young people. It's a noble calling. It's 
an important part of the fabric of America. By teaching the Word of God, 
you prepare your students to follow a path of virtue and compassion and 
sacrifice for the rest of their lives. And by insisting on high 
standards for academic achievement, Catholic schools are a model for all 
schools around our country.
    I was hoping to run into a fellow Texan today. [Laughter] His 
Excellency Gregory Aymond is the bishop from Austin, Texas. [Laughter] 
He is--I'm glad there's only a handful of Texans here. [Laughter] The 
bishop is the board chair of the National Catholic Education 
Association, and I want to thank you for joining us.
    I appreciate Michael Guerra. Michael Guerra is the president of the 
National Catholic Education Association. Michael, thank you, and thank 
you for all the board members who graciously had a picture taken in the 
Blue Room with me. I appreciate you doing that.
    His Excellency John Cummins, who is the bishop emeritus of Oakland, 
California, is with us. His Excellency, thank you for being here, sir.
    I appreciate Carl Anderson, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of 
Columbus, and Dorian for joining us today.
    I'm sorry my neighbor His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick is 
not with us, a decent man. [Laughter] I really, really am proud to call 
him friend. He's a really good guy, as we say in Texas.
    I appreciate you all coming. I really do. Thanks for being here.
    Catholic educators share the basic conviction that every child can 
learn, and every child can learn to lead a life of service. That's a 
pretty good mission statement, isn't it? Let us teach every child to 

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