Taxes

WE NEED A BALANCED BUDGET!

WHEN GOVERNMENT FAILS TO ACT AS FISCAL CONSERVATIVES IT IS OUR SENIORS AND OUR CHILDREN WHO ARE AFFECTED THE MOST!

As your congressman, I will diligently work to help California residents keep as much of their hard-earned money as possible – and that’s the bottom line.

Small businesses employ a little more than 52% of the workforce. The federal government defines a small business as up to 200 employees, but 95% of all small businesses operate with 20 employees or less. This means half of the workforce in America works for a company run by someone who is, more than likely, your neighbor or even yourself. There are roughly 28 million small businesses in the United States; and although most of them do not have any employees, about 2 million have 1 or more. If we create tax breaks aimed at small businesses to incentivize them to hire at least 1 employee, we could add another 2 million NET jobs to the economy.

There is a movement in this country to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour. I understand that higher wages are better for everyone, but the unintended consequence directly affects lower skilled workers by pricing them out of the market, or forcing small businesses to let go of an extra employee.  We do not have to force every small business to pay $15/hour to incentivize them to pay $15/hour. The federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour. We can provide an additional tax credit for small businesses for every dollar over the federal minimum they pay their employees, up to $15/hour. If a company pays their employees $14.50/hour, they will be able to write off that cost, adding the difference to the federal minimum. In this case, the small business would receive $7.25 on top of the $14.50, for a total of $21.75/hour of wages. This way we won’t price out low-skilled workers from the market while simultaneously incentivizing small businesses to pay $15/hour.

It is very clear to me that the only way to bring Americans back to work in large numbers, and in good paying positions, is providing tax breaks for the average American citizen – to either add jobs to their existing small business or incentivize them to start a small business of their own.

Conservation

Growing up my entire life in the city of Long Beach, there is one thing we can all agree on – pollution is a problem that needs to be addressed effectively. After a refreshing rainfall, you can see clearly all the way to downtown Los Angeles from the top of Signal Hill. A week later and it is nothing but a brown haze.

One of my favorite Republicans was Teddy Roosevelt. As a child, history was one of my favorite subjects. I was in awe, learning about the Ruff Ryders, his time as an explorer and the president who took a bullet, but still finished his speech. Not only was he one of our toughest presidents ever, but he was also one of our most devout environmentalists, even to this day. He once wrote: “We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.” 

When I was young, my older brother and I would spend our summers with my grandparents who lived in Florida. My grandmother cared deeply about the manatees, and it seemed that these endangered species were always the topic of conversation whenever we were near a body of water. To me, as a young man, it always seemed as though the entire community was behind every effort made to preserve their existence. Large groups of people would always gather around when one appeared in the canal by her house. In 2017, with the efforts of the federal government and the people of Florida, manatees were finally taken off the endangered species list. We have also made great efforts to save the American alligator, the grizzly bear, the island fox and the wood stork.

As a kid, there was never a doubt whether or not we had the moral obligation to preserve our natural environment – and there shouldn’t be today. Pollution is a multivariate issue, and to focus solely on one variable does not give justice to the obligation we all have of leaving this place better than it was when we found it. I was only in the Boy Scouts for a short period of time, but during my short stint, my troop went on a camping trip and learned the phrase, “Leave No Trace”. It was a principle that instills the duty we have to reduce our impact on the environment. One messy campfire may be trivial, but a thousand messy campfires is a huge problem.

As your congressman, I will always work for bills that promote the “Leave No Trace” approach when it comes to our environment. I believe, as I always have, from growing up with the Florida manatees to becoming a Boy Scout, that it is our moral obligation to protect our planet and leave it better than we found it.

Education

I am lucky enough to be the husband to one of this great nation’s millions of amazing teachers. My astounding wife, Stephanie, has been teaching for 11 years. Her father was also a teacher in Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) for over 40 years, as many of us know him fondly as Coach Shawver.

Unfortunately, today in America we are faced with plummeting test scores and our international educational ranking has dropped significantly since the early 80’s. We pay more than most developed nations per student, but with lower results. At the same time, we push our children into furthering their education by taking on massive debt, only to graduate with a degree and no career in sight.

At an early age, my mother knew that my brother and I were not going to be doctors – it was somewhere between taking the training wheels off my bike by myself, my older brother teaching me to ride it without her help or taking apart our multiple VCR’s to remove a jammed tape. It was when we started putting them back together that she realized our minds may not work the same way as an Ivy League graduate’s.

When I was in 7th grade at Marshall Middle School, Mr. Scarrow was my woodshop teacher. It was the first time I used heavy machinery, and I will never forget that moment. When I completed my first class project, a catapult, I instantly knew what I wanted to do in life – I was going to be a builder. Currently, most districts do not have trade classes in their curriculum. Our education system solely prepares children for college entrance exams, completely dismissing those who will never benefit from it.

I believe we need to bring ‘The Arts and Trades’ back to school, and treat them as equals to all other subjects. Once in high school, students who excel in these tracts can forgo unnecessary college-prep classes for more advanced trade classes in preparation for an apprenticeship after high school. We need to teach our children, not only the importance of a higher education, but the importance of skilled trades and the arts as well.

We also need to give our teachers, who are on the front lines of creating an educated populace, the tools they so desperately need to be an effective teacher. My wife only receives $200 from the school district for an entire school years’ worth of supplies. This is less than one tenth of the amount she needs for supplies, and must supplement the rest herself, as many teachers do. I compare it to being given a hammer and a Philips Head screwdriver, then being told to build a house in a school year.

As your congressman, and as a parent, I will work to ensure that our children and our teachers are given the proper tools to succeed in life to help build a stronger California and America.