Tuesday, January 26, 2010

John Barrow Speaks at Legislative Lucheon in Jenkins County back on Jan 5

The Millen News

Lunch and legislative issues were served up Tuesday, Jan. 5, at the Jenkins County Agriculture Center where U.S. Representative John Barrow addressed local citizens.
The event was sponsored by Jenkins County Farm Bureau and Burke County Farm Bureau. Jenkins County Extension Service Coordinator Wade Parker served as moderator.

In his remarks, Rep. Barrow discussed his position on several issues that recently came before Congress. He began by outlining legislative works that he opposed: Tarp, the federal budget, the energy bill and the health care reform bill.

Rep. Barrow said he voted against Tarp “because it didn’t do what it said it would” and he opposed the federal budget “because the spending plan was too big. The Congressman said he felt the energy bill “was unfair to Georgia and wouldn’t work” and that the health care reform bill “had too many mandates and taxes on small businesses.”

A legislative work that he supported included the state children’s health insurance plan, which funds the Peach Care program.

During a question and answer session, Rep. Barrow addressed the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), noting that he opposed both because he felt, “we are playing on an unfair field, and they are unenforceable.”

When asked how small communities like Millen and Jenkins County could recover from lost jobs, Rep. Barrow outlined three ways that he felt life could be brought back to rural economies.

We need to stop subsidizing companies that want to move jobs out of the country,” he said, citing the closure of the local Jockey International plant as an example of the effects of CAFTA and NAFTA.

He noted that developing new sources of energy in the state and public infrastructure through federal assistance programs were good ways to put people back to work.

“Putting contractors to work to build the stuff we need is a good investment,” Rep. Barrow said.

When the issue of a federal sales tax was brought up, Rep. Barrow said that he had concerns with the “fair tax” issue.

“We would need a sales tax that is higher than anywhere in the world. We can’t raise as much money from sales tax as the existing taxes without shifting the tax burden from those who don’t spend all their income to those who do,” he commented.

“People would be paying more sales tax than they would pay in income tax. We need tax reform, but it needs to provide relief to those who bear the burden,” he added.

Several local farmers complained about a change in policy at the Farm Service Agency that required checks for federal programs to be issued from Kansas City rather than local offices as had been the custom in the past. Rep. Barrow agreed to look into the matter.

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