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Mark Kirk to Business Leaders: It's Time to 'Cherry-Pick' Best Ideas

Speaking at Tuesday's legislative breakfast, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk offers short-term action to turn the economy around.

Before a crowd of hundreds of local business leaders on Tuesday morning, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk offered his ideas to turn the economy around.

The Illinois Republican was the guest of a dozen chambers of commerce, who organized Tuesday’s legislative breakfast at Pipers Banquets in Aurora. And though Kirk led off with some dire words about our current economic situation, he did come to the table with several ideas.

Kirk has already introduced one of them, the Lincoln Legacy Infrastructure Development Act, in Congress. Co-authored with Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren, from Illinois’ 14th District, the bill removes roadblocks to public/private partnerships in the rail, highway and aviation industries.

The idea, he said, is to get those projects moving with a mix of private and public money, and without all the federal restrictions that often block such partnerships. Kirk said that a National Transportation Safety Board study showed a need of $225 billion per year in transportation project funding, but only $90 billion a year in government spending in those areas.

The bill is named after Abraham Lincoln, Kirk said, in reference to that president’s support of the Transcontinental Railway Act. Kirk called that Lincoln’s third-greatest achievement, behind ending the Civil War and signing the Emancipation Proclamation, and noted that the 3,000-mile rail system was built “off the books of the federal taxpayer.”

Kirk suggested a moratorium on any new federal regulations costing over $100 million. He said the federal government should wipe out all special interest provisions in the tax code. And he said the U.S. should lower the corporate tax rate to five percent, a move he said would keep the country’s top earners stateside, not setting up shop in other nations to save tax money.

“Hundreds of billions of profits would come home, and be invested in America,” he said.

Kirk spoke in support of the Keystone Pipeline, a $13 billion system that would pump oil from Canada to the United States. And he suggested that the government should buy unpaid mortgages at 80 percent of their value and offer them back to troubled homeowners at reduced rates. This, he said, would preserve the value of the home, prevent blight, and keep the neighborhoods on the road to recovery.

Kirk saved some of his sharpest words for the 2010 health care reform bill, which he said provides an incentive for companies with more than 50 employees to drop below that level, to avoid having to insure them or pay a fine. He said the bill should be repealed, but noted that President Barack Obama will veto any attempt to do so, and he has the votes to ensure such a veto would stand.

He pointed to the 2012 election as the deciding factor.

“You tell me who wins the presidency, and I will tell you whether the health care bill is law or not,” he said.

John Walsh September 28, 2011 at 01:31 AM
25 tables, with 8 chairs each, not every table filled, a couple dozen local politicians...dosen't make the crowd "hundreds of local business leaders". Learn to count. Senator Kirk, despite pronouncing his ideas as non-partisian, rattled off one partisian idea after another. Kirk championed his support for a Balanced Budget Ammendment, for instance...when he, elected in 2000, with the second of two consecutive Clinton administration balanced budgets, then voted for 6 Bush-Republican Congress deficit spending budgets. Kirk voted for the authorization that Bush used to Invade Iraq - costing America over 4,000 lives and $2 Trillion. Kirk voted for each and every military funding authorization that the Bush Administration and Republicans kept "off the books" and out of the official federal budget. Kirk voted for the 2001 Bush Tax Cuts, the 2003 Bush Tax Cuts and the extension of those tax cuts earlier this year. Kirk is a phony fiscal conservative, a right wing partisian hack.
robert poznanski September 28, 2011 at 03:33 PM
Just what the country needs, more Capitalistic Socialism, in the form of providing tax money, for private concerns! If he thinks jobs are going to be created by "giving taxpayer money to corporations", think again! This has not happened, as they prefer to spend their money on emerging markets overseas, and will continue to do so, at the expense of the American labor market! It is time to bring both political parties to a reckoning of Americas priorities ! Do we take care of the citizens needs, or the corporations? We have ample examples of what has happened,in giving corporations "what they want", as opposed to citizens "what they need",in the continued shedding of American jobs, and the need for further social welfare, because of failed policies, lack of regulation,and uneven, and unfair ,taxation!! How about giving the average,working citizen, a break, just for a change!!! Now that's something I could vote for!! Not the continuation, of the rape of the American taxpayer, us!!

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