By SHIRLEY PULAWSKI
OBSERVER Staff Writer
Republican Congressman Tom Reed of New York's 29th district recently visited Dunkirk on his campaign for congressman in the newly formed 23rd district.
'When it comes to job creation, the four points that we stress are coming up with a credible plan to attack the national debt ... because if you don't do that, you run the risk of a fiscal crisis, a currency crisis.'
Rep. Tom Reed
The new 23rd district will include Chautauqua County along with other counties lining part of the Interstate 86 corridor extending into Tompkins County at its easternmost end.
Reed, a lawyer from Corning, will face Democrat Nate Shinagawa in the November election.
Still in his first term as congressman, Reed was elected to congress in a special election in 2010 after the resignation of Eric Massa. Reed also served one term as mayor of Corning from 2008 to 2009.
The OBSERVER's editorial board sat down with Reed and discussed issues relevant to the area.
Reed said he has a four point plan for job growth which includes reducing the national debt, comprehensive tax reform, regulatory relief and a comprehensive "all of the above" energy policy.
"When it comes to job creation, the four points that we stress are coming up with a credible plan to attack the national debt ... because if you don't do that, you run the risk of a fiscal crisis, a currency crisis. You also lack the confidence that people need to have to invest in the American market," he said.
Comprehensive tax reform is necessary for job growth, Reed said. "The current tax code is 70,000 pages. I'm on the Ways and Means Committee, and we're in the middle of that whole process. It needs to be cleaned up. It needs to be broadened. It needs to be simplified. It needs to be fair. It needs to be taken down from 70,000 pages to about a quarter of that. ... Really just simplify it and that will make us more competitive," he said.
Reed also said he is in favor of setting a permanent tax structure. "A critical thing on tax policy also is we have to get away from this band-aid short-term. ... You need a code that's long term, and those are the rules and that's the way it is," Reed explained.
On regulatory relief, Reed said his strategy includes a long-term fix.. "We support structural and institutional reforms such as the REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) Act which would have the agencies present back to the congress, the house and senate regulations that would impact the economy by $100 million of more, before they go into effect, have to get signed off by the house and the senate to make sure that they're reasonable, that they're accomplishing what we in the statute intended to accomplish."
Until a long-term solution is in place, Reed said the power of the office can be used to help derail legislation he feels is harmful. "In the mean time, we can use the power of the office to spotlight egregious legislation. When they were trying to go after spilled dairy milk as a hazardous oil site, you know, that was when we tried to put a spotlight on it and say this lacks common sense," he said.
Reed was asked about the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE), a power delivery system planned to bring electricity from wind and other alternative power produced in Canada into New York City. "I see you've signed on to that. We see it as something that is hurting us," publisher John D'Agostino said, because it doesn't include NRG as a power source.
"A lot of that energy is coming from Canadian sources, and it's filling a need. ... That demand is not going away any time soon, so the need for a power source is going to be there, and my hope would be that Dunkirk would be a part of that supply," Reed said. "Hopefully we can see a solution that's in tandem with both. It's something we need to work on, to make sure (NRG) is in a position to be part of the supply."
When asked about his feelings about the size of government in Western New York, Reed said he supports reduction of government on all levels. "Government, starting at the federal level, all the way down, is way too big. And that's something we bring to the table every day the concept of a limited federal government and a smaller government all around," he said, but with a caveat.
"But I do believe in the Tenth Amendment that the government that works best is the government that is closest to the people, so local and state government is really where the decision making should occur primarily."
Reed said he understands the needs of businesses. "We're seeing the results of that bigger government mentality all over the nation and in upstate New York in particular. You (put) a federal taxing environment along with a federal regulatory environment on top of a state taxing environment along with a state regulatory environment and it's not a pro-business environment ... so we're trying to change that culture."
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