MEDINA — U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, discussed health care, job growth and tax reform during a Monday visit to the Medina Gazette.
Renacci said Affordable Care Act reforms have halted business growth nationwide, especially provisions that require companies with more than 50 employees to offer health care coverage. That provision, he said, discourages companies with 40 to 50 employees from expanding.
“They say, ‘Why would I go over 50 and be required to do what the president’s health care plan requires me to do?’” he said.
Renacci said it’s one of the reasons he’s voted more than 30 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
He said he knows the Senate won’t take up repealing the law again, but feels he has a duty to represent the people in his district. He pointed to a Gallup poll from February showing 51 percent of Americans disapprove of the Affordable Care Act.
“In my district, that number is even higher,” Renacci said.
A Gallup poll conducted in December had more specific results on how Americans view the law. That poll showed 32 percent of Americans favored a full repeal of the law, 20 percent thought it should scaled back, 20 percent of Americans thought the law should be expanded, and 17 percent thought the law should remain as is.
In addition to the Affordable Care Act, Renacci said high corporate tax rates also are hurting job growth.
He said the current economic climate doesn’t inspire companies to create jobs.
“If we’re going to grow the economy, we have to put policies in place that allow people to create jobs,” he said. “I don’t think we have that kind of environment today.”
When asked about Ohio’s stagnant job growth during the years of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts, Renacci said Ohio jobs will grow when the state tax climate is more competitive with Southern states that have lower taxes on business.
Renacci said Gov. John Kasich has been working to improve the business climate in Ohio. At the federal level, Renacci said he’s focused on changing tax laws designed to help the U.S. compete in a global economy.
“It’s 20 percent cheaper to go anywhere else in the world and manufacture, and that’s excluding payroll,” he said.
While Renacci acknowledged that most U.S. corporations don’t pay the 35 percent corporate tax rate, he said the effective tax rate in the United States is 25 or 26 percent, still well above those in most other countries, including those in Europe.
“If you want to be able to compete, you have to be competitive,” he said. “Why would you stay here when you can add 20 percent to your bottom line?”
Renacci said income tax reforms proposed by fellow Republican Dave Camp, R-Mich., who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, should warrant a close look from Democrats and Republicans alike. The plan would eliminate the seven federal income tax brackets and set only two income tax rates — one at 10 percent and one at 25 percent.
“Tax reform is a major step in moving forward. It hasn’t been done for 27 years,” Renacci said.
He said the package proposed by Camp is good overall and is projected to create 1.8 million jobs.
Renacci said the simplified two-tier bracket and closure of tax loopholes are the most important pieces of the plan.
While he acknowledged the plan needs more discussion, he said it’s a starting point.
Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.