U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, speaks to the Seville Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday. ELIZABETH DOBBINS / GAZETTE
Renacci discussed his tax plan, Social Security and presidential politics in a town hall-style luncheon meeting Thursday with the Seville Area Chamber of Commerce. There are three months to go before the Nov. 8 election as Renacci, the Republican incumbent, competes for the 16th Congressional district seat against Parma Democrat and grassroots coordinator Keith Mundy.
Change needs to come in the form of tax reform, according to Renacci. In a tax plan developed by his office and released last week, he proposes eliminating corporate income tax and replacing it with a single digit consumption tax. He said this change will make the U.S. more appealing to businesses in a global economy than other developed nations, which currently have lower taxes.
“We have to make our country a competitive place,” he said.
However, he foresees trouble gaining bipartisan and presidential support for his proposal that, in private pitches with members of both parties, received positive responses, he said.
“Politics always gets in the way of policy,” he said.
Frustration with Washington
Several members of the audience expressed frustration with Washington during the question and answer session with Renacci. Renacci encouraged residents to continue showing their outrage. While change doesn’t happen alone in the federal government, he said many bills are stopped short by the president.
“The only way we’re going to fix this — now that I’m in Washington (I understand), it’s not with Congress,” he said.
Renacci lambasted President Barack Obama for his infrequent visits to the U.S. House of Representatives. He said previous presidents, including Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, met more often with representatives. The importance of the presidential office and his support for the Republican Party are among the reasons Renacci is supporting Donald Trump.
Trump ‘not first choice’
“I’m not here to do a campaign speech for Trump because Trump wasn’t my first choice, wasn’t my second, might not have even been my third. But I will tell you that I do know Hillary Clinton was going to take you in the same direction (as the Obama administration),” he said. “She thinks we’re going in the right direction.
“You have to open up a new door and see what’s behind it,” he continued. “What people say to me is, ‘I don’t know what’s behind the door. I’m a little scared.’ Well, you know what’s in the one door.”
The audience of about 20 quizzed Renacci about his views on Social Security, prescription pill prices and small businesses.
He said the aging population and longer life expectancies make Social Security an untenable system, but also a political “hot potato,” meaning neither side is willing to change the structure. He encouraged better promotion of private retirement plans, such as 401(k) accounts. He said prescription pills are often sold for more than they cost to produce, but this does not take into consideration the investment that companies must make to develop the medication.
“There’s a whole mechanism you need to look at,” he said.
He said a reformed tax code and replacing or changing the Affordable Care Act will help small businesses.
“If you want to cure all ills in this country, start creating jobs,” he said.
Contact reporter Elizabeth Dobbins at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.