Ready for some positive news?

Are you ready for some positive news? The American economy is surging forward thanks to recent economic growth.  In fact, the jobless rate is the lowest it has been since 2007.  The national unemployment rate is currently 4.4% - which is even better than the 4.6% number that economists had predicted.

Though the unemployment rate isn’t the only indicator of a healthy economy, the news that employers added 211,000 jobs in April is certainly evidence that this recovery is real.  There are several key factors that are causing this economic optimism, and without a doubt one of those factors is the news that President Trump will attempt to cut taxes across the board.  Contrary to what some have said, these massive tax cuts will lower taxes for everyone who pays federal taxes – especially working families and small businesses.  Therefore, it’s no wonder the economy is responding so swiftly to this news.

Obviously, as with anything in politics, the critics aren’t silent.  Many are falsely claiming that the tax cuts would only help billionaires.  This is patently untrue.  The standard deduction will be doubled for working families, and even USA Today acknowledged that small businesses would benefit greatly.  As someone who is old enough to remember the enormously beneficial effects of the Reagan tax cuts, I support the plan.

And while the national economy got a shot in the arm from the new administration, states like Kentucky are passing proactive, pro-growth legislation that is creating even more jobs. Kentucky’s population is about one third that of Illinois’ population, but the little state on our southern border passed sweeping legislation that attracted $3 billion in new economic investment.  If only legislators in the Prairie State could learn something from the Bluegrass State – pro-business reforms work!

If familiarity breeds comfort, then we here in Illinois are in a comfortable spot – lagging behind and with little motivation to close the gap.  While our neighboring states are doing everything in their power to grab a piece of the national economic recovery, Illinois has squabbled over publicly funded abortions and mandating that elementary students learn cursive.  And as Moody’s is lowering our state’s credit rating and massive layoffs are taking place across the state, nothing is being done to correct our course.

Last week, the House passed $295 million it didn’t have on programs the state largely doesn’t need.  This week, Illinois celebrated “National Small Business Week” with an extremely generous gift from the state legislature – it didn’t convene for session.  Small business owners across the state appreciated the respite that came from a week without good ideas coming out of Springfield.

As a legislator who represents a district with thousands of small businesses – and as a small business owner myself – I know what small business owners want most from the state.  They want to be left alone!  Small business owners want – and need – to be able to make the best decision for their company.  When the government comes knocking with yet another good idea, most of us aren’t all too pleased.  As Ronald Reagan said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

In my columns, you might notice that I often mockingly refer to cumbersome regulations and new spending programs here in Illinois as “good ideas.”  The sad reality is that most of these road blocks rarely accomplish their stated goals because the lawmakers who enact them have little understanding of what it takes to create jobs or to run a business.  Though I’m sure that every good idea is offered with the best of intentions, I’m reminded of a quote by the late, great Milton Friedman: “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”

As always, you can reach me or Sally at 815-232-0774, or visit my website at www.repbrianstewart.com and use the contact form to send me an e-mail.

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