Q & A with Congresswoman Hartzler
With the closing of air traffic control towers around the country, including Columbia, what will the effect be on air traffic?
You hope it will not be a huge safety hazard. They will be doing the air traffic control out of Springfield but they will not be able to see the ground. There might be a deer on the runway or a general aviation private plane getting ready to take off, or another plane coming in that Springfield may not know about. Local pilots are suppose to be on a certain radio frequency as well but a digit could be off causing the potential for an accident. We certainly do not want to see that.
What sequestration effects are we going to see in Central Missouri?
We are just starting to see the impact because agencies are now trying to figure out how the sequestration will impact them. Certainly the defense area is the most concerning because the Department of Defense said it could furlough up to 6,000 civil federal workers at Whiteman Air-force Base and Fort Leonard Wood. This means they would be forced to stay home one day a week, which is a 20 percent reduction in their pay causing these individuals to spend much less on groceries and gas for the car. We certainly hate to see this, including reduced training for our troops and less flying time as well for our pilots.
Will the future of education be affected?
The Education Department will see cuts as well that will impact aid for school districts around the state because a lot of their budget comes from the Federal Government. They are dealing with it the best they can, making them okay for a year or so but after that you may see some teacher layoffs. This is very concerning and only a couple examples coming in at this time.
In the House we passed two pieces of legislation, which found cuts elsewhere in other programs, which displaced the defense cuts. It did not make since to cut 7.8 percent across the board causing all programs to see a deduction in funds. It makes sense to look at where there is duplication and waste. Unfortunately the Senate refused our bills and so we are stuck with this.
We do need to get our fiscal house in order since we are borrowing 3.6 billion dollars a day to fund the government and we are almost 17 trillion dollars in debt at the time. I think the budget needs to be done smartly.
What cuts do you propose?
There is a huge surplus of Federal property, which could be sold. It is costing tax payers 1.7 billion dollars a year on maintenance alone. I am currently in support of some bills out there that propose selling of this property, which would recover the 1.7 billion dollars in maintenance right off the bat, including extra money for the purchase of the buildings. We have other examples of waste including the IRS, which has their own television studio, operates with a budget of four million dollars a year, this is ridiculous. I introduced a bill last week that would stop a duplicative program with catfish inspection. The United States Department of Agriculture is setting up this duel system inspecting catfish, which is going to cost 30 million dollars to set up and 14 million dollars a year to operate the duel system. This is a small piece I am trying to work on to get rid of that. The Environment Protection Agency gave $100,000 in grants to foreign countries last year. There are other areas we can find waste and duplicative programs to cut.
Boonville has faced a number of large business closures recently, especially with the announcement from Nordyne. What does the United States need to do to bring back lost businesses?
I think we can make a lot of changes in Washington to make America more business friendly. A lot of our policies are driving businesses elsewhere. Some of the incentives encouraging people to move their business is because the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world at 35 percent. We were number two before Japan lowered their tax because they realized it makes them more competitive. I co-sponsored a bill to lower ours to 25 percent, which would make us more competitive to the rest of the world. Another part has to do with our energy policy. Electricity costs a lot here and I think this is due partly because the government has discouraged the use of many of our resources here in America. We need to encourage for gas and nuclear exploration and pass the Keystone Pipeline so we are not so dependent on other countries. Regulations are another thing that heightens the cost. We have a lot of coal powered plants shut down because of the new EPA regulations, which does not make sense because the air here is some of the cleanest in the world. Even the new healthcare law is causing healthcare to rise and causing employers reluctant to hire more people. It is imperative we change