Utah League of Cities and Towns

Making Life BETTER

Senator Orrin Hatch (R) – Campaign Issues 2012

As we approach the heart of the 2012 campaign, what do you see as the biggest issues that will impact elections in Utah and around the country? How do those issues impact Utah’s cities and towns?

Last month I spoke with the Utah Association of Financial Services and the National Industrial Bankers in Utah about our country’s fiscal crisis. We talked about the consequences of our nation’s mounting debt and the looming tax hikes that are due to hit nearly every American taxpayer unless resident Obama and Congress act by the end of this year. To me, that is one of the driving issues of the November elections.

This is the worst economic recovery since World War II. Stalled economic growth is undercutting job creation, and with it the economic security of all Americans. Economic growth slowed to 1.5 percent in the last quarter, down from 4.1 percent at the end of last year. For 43 consecutive months, the unemployment rate has remained above 8 percent.

At the current rate of job creation and given current conditions in labor markets, it would take over 50 years to get the unemployment rate down to the 5.3 percent average experienced during the period 2001 through 2008. It goes without saying that this sluggish economy has a chilling effect over the cities and towns across our country.

The failure of our economy to produce a sustained recovery is in significant part owing to decisions in Washington. Both the coming fiscal cliff — what some have called Taxmageddon – which threatens to raise taxes on all Americans, and the new taxes and regulations in Obamacare, are creating enormous uncertainty across the entire country.

Action on the fiscal cliff is long overdue, and it overshadows everything. That’s why last month I put forward a proposal with Senator McConnell, the Senate’s Republican Leader, to extend tax relief to millions of hard-working Americans. Our proposal wanted to extend current tax law for one more year until we can accomplish tax reform. By contrast, the Senate Democrats’ put forward a bill that offered nothing but more uncertainty and tax increases on job creators.

This is evidence of the kind of choice we have this election. Do we stimulate job creation by letting working families and small businesses keep their hard earned money and help grow the economy, or do we send more of it to Washington to grow the government.