We have an opportunity to change the direction our country is headed. I entered the U.S. Senate race because I’m very concerned for the future of America and for our industry. My family ranches in the Nebraska Sandhills, south of Valentine. Our three grown sons have all chosen to return to the ranch and now manage the business.This is an important election year.
As a rancher, I know how the current administration’s policies have affected our industry. Burdensome regulations are choking our businesses; the estate tax makes it difficult to leave our operations to our children; and complicated red tape stymies emergency assistance in times of need.
The slow response of the federal government to this year’s historic drought and wildfires illustrated the need for the government to make significant improvements in its response time to assist ranchers and farmers. For example, it simply took too long for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to allow emergency grazing and haying areas on Conservation Reserve Program land. In the future, we need to make sure that the FSA allows emergency grazing in a timelier manner.
As a U.S. Senator, I will seek to reduce and eliminate onerous regulations. Federal agencies have greatly overstretched their regulatory boundaries and I believe Congress needs to exert its authority by providing oversight of these agencies. Congress should establish an independent review to analyze each proposed rule or mandate prior to implementation to assess its impact on the economy. Rules and regulations should also have a sunset date. We need greater congressional oversight, transparency and accountability of these rules. Current regulations defy commonsense and put undue burden on our small businesses.
Congress must also reform and simplify the tax code, which includes eliminating the estate tax, repealing the alternative minimum tax (AMT) and lowering the business tax while closing loopholes. Businesses must have certainty in order to grow, and the current tax code is too complex, which poses a significant challenge for future planning by small businesses and individuals. The daunting task of trying to maneuver through the numerous provisions surrounding tax compliance drains small businesses of resources. Small businesses spend almost $19 billion and put in two billion hours annually trying to comply with the tax code. We need to reform the tax code to make it simpler for small businesses and individuals to plan and invest in the future.
Another priority is to modernize our nation’s infrastructure. This is a priority on both the federal and state levels. A good transportation, telecommunication and broadband system is absolutely vital for expanding commerce, moving our products and keeping rural communities strong.
This is a serious time in our country. We are facing a deficit of over $1 trillion and just reached $16 trillion in debt. This is unacceptable. We cannot continue to spend money we don’t have. We need to make the tough decisions necessary to move this country forward and I believe we will do that by cutting spending and growing our economy. We need to allow our businesses to create jobs, which will generate revenue. Government does not need to raise taxes. We will turn our economy around through the creation of jobs in the private sector, not public.
I released a jobs plan last fall that outlines my priorities for creating an environment that encourages small businesses to grow. I believe we need to reform the tax code, reduce regulations, lower energy costs, encourage free and fair trade and repeal the Affordable Care Act. America is a country whose people have exceptional talents and skills. America’s brighter days are before us. I know we can get back on the right course and build a stronger country for our children and grandchildren.