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