We must find balance in America

Published 8:53am Tuesday, September 24, 2013

On Labor Day, I wrote an opinion about how working men and women are the backbone of the American economy and the American Dream. Unfortunately, there are hard working families across the country that just can’t seem to get ahead. There are wealthy Americans on Wall Street sitting on their money while the hard working men and women on Main Street struggle to pay their monthly bills.

We must find a way to reduce this disparity and level the playing field so that all people and all businesses are playing by the same rules. Only then will the working family truly benefit.

For example, when a large corporation comes into a small town, they often get a huge tax subsidy to develop within that community. These are tax dollars that go to the corporation to defray the cost of developing the property in order to run a business. Then, the company offers low prices that make it impossible for the small businesses to compete. Meanwhile, the company pays its workers minimum wage, cuts hours in order to not be required to offer health insurance and encourages their employees to file for benefits to help make ends meet.

So while the company is pulling in huge profits, they’re asking for tax dollars from hard working men and women to help cover the cost of paying their employees decent wages and benefits.

Did I mention that many large corporations also pay no taxes in the state of Alabama? More than two thirds of corporations doing business in the state, paid no state taxes. Furthermore, 16 companies operating within Alabama each reported more than $1 billion in federal income, but paid no state income taxes.

How are small businesses supposed to compete with that?

Small businesses hire most workers and they are the platform which launches many families into the middle class. As a legislator and a representative of this community, it is my job to find a way to strengthen small businesses so that they can play on an even field with the big corporations.

It is my job to find a way to raise the minimum wage to a living wage without harming those small companies who pinch pennies to stay afloat during these tough times.

These are the problems of the new economy and I hope you will stand with me as I try to fix them. I believe that no family who works hard should have to rely on government safety nets just to get by. I believe that hard work should be rewarded with fair pay and benefits. I believe that we must create an economy that makes Main Street and Wall Street play by the same rules. I believe in the American Dream, and I will continue to stand by it. Will you continue to stand by me?

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