Connect & Collaborate, Mike Coffman, August 26, 2016

Station: KNUS, 710 AM

Show:     Connect & Collaborate

Guests:  Coffman, Mike


Date:      August 26, 2016

Topics:   Job Creators Network, Heidi Ganahl, CU Regent, Sixth Congressional District (CD-6), Amendment 69, Colorado Care, Ballot Initiative, Minimum Wage Increase, Regulations, Regulatory Burdens, Tax Burdens, Economic Recovery, Tax Reform, Jobs, Economic Opportunity, Trade Associations, Chambers of Commerce, Government Bureaucracy, Financial Crisis, Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance, Anschutz Medical Center, Agriculture, Farmers, Healthcare Industry, Contractors, Air Force, Work Over Welfare, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Income Disaparity

HOST TAMMY SCHMIDT:   Thank you for joining us again for more Connect & Collaborate.  We’re talking today with Job Creators Network about their “Bring Small Businesses Back” campaign, which kicks off on Monday.  And joining us now is Congressman Mike Coffman. Congressman, it is wonderful to have you on the show.

CONGRESSMAN MIKE COFFMAN, REPRESENTING THE SIXTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT (CD-6) OF COLORADO:  Oh, thank you so much for having me.  I really appreciate it.

SCHMIDT:  So, starting out, can you tell us a little bit about what you’re hearing from the small business owners in your district about those regulatory hurdles they face?

COFFMAN:  Well, first of all, I’ve been a small business owner and that’s where I learned how to balance a budget, how to meet a payroll, and how to run an organization efficiently enough to make a profit – a quality that is not readily found in Washington DC.  And so, — but since I’ve left that small business world, the regulatory burdens have really shot up, and so I’m hearing a lot from small businesses about how it’s increasing their cost, how these unelected bureaucrats are making their life difficult without any concern for the fact that they’re costing these small businesses jobs and economic opportunities, and really, setting back the overall economy.

GUEST CO-HOST:  You know, Mike, there’s a few things that I — my pet peeves. I have very, very few in life but one of the things that drives me nuts is when you keep hearing people just say, “I wish government would get out of the way.”  When you talk to business owners, what can we do to help you and how can, you know, –not only chambers of commerce and business Roundtables, but trade associations support you, but certainly the government and the government’s role.  We know government doesn’t create jobs but what are some of things that you think that government can do to play a role to really help encourage small business owners, development, growth, and entrepreneurial spirit here in your district and across this great country?

COFFMAN:  Well, I think you’ve got to –. I think more people need to do what you’re doing in your network, and speaking to their elected officials at every level of government.  It’s not just the federal government, of course, that puts regulatory burdens on small businesses but local governments, as well.  But of course I think that the federal government is the lion’s share of the problem.  And state governments certainly participate.  But I think it’s talking to those elected representatives about lifting the burdens — the regulatory burdens — off small business, streamlining the federal bureaucracy, state bureaucracy, and local bureaucracy to be able to be more efficient, to be less of a burden on small businesses, as well as the incredible tax burdens that are placed on small businesses, you know, across this country and Colorado, specifically.  So, if we can lift these burdens – you know, small business is the engine that drives economic growth in America — and if we can lift these burdens I’m convinced that this economy will grow.  But we’ve had — I know the American people are frustrated because we’ve had slow to nonexistent growth since the financial crisis in 2008.  We’ve never recovered from it.  And so, you know, we are [at] less than 2% growth, and ought to be [at] at least 3% growth — certainly at 3%, or better.  And we’re not there.  And that hurts our young people.  They’re not getting the kind of jobs and economic opportunities that their – that the generation that preceded them had, and so I am, obviously, very concerned about that, very –.  What we’re talking about now — when it comes to small business, you know, being overtaxed, overburdened — is that I think it — there is a growing income disparity in America as a result of that.

SCHMIDT:  We’re speaking with Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman.  So, are you supporting the “Bring Small Businesses Back” Tax Reform Act?

COFFMAN:  You know, I’m certainly – I’m reviewing it right now.  And I know it moves the ball in the right direction.  And I’m very impressed about that.  Certainly, I’m not for corporate welfare and I don’t believe it does that, but I think anytime you can you can relieve the tax burden on small businesses you put more money into this economy, they can create more jobs, and again, in economic opportunities.  They can drive this economy forward.  I’m still in the process of reviewing it but from what I understand so far, it certainly moves the ball in the right direction.

GUEST CO-HOST:  Mike, I hate to put you on the spot, but can you talk a little bit about the types of businesses that are in CD-6, here in Colorado, and paint that picture for the listeners across the spectrum.  I know you’ve got a diverse district that runs down into Highlands Ranch, up to Adams County, and out through Aurora.  Talk about the businesses and how you see this current state of our economic recovery impacting those businesses in your district.

COFFMAN:  Well, sure.  I think there is no question, in — part of the — services are big everywhere.   And those a small businesses play a very big role in the services business.  In the southern part of the district, a lot of the economy is driven by the aerospace industry.  We have, you know, things like Lockheed Martin.  We have United Launch Alliance.  And then we have a lot of medium and small businesses that are contractors to those larger defense and basically, aerospace contractors.  In fact, we are — we have the second largest aerospace industry in the United States of America and we  — and on a per capita basis in the state of Colorado — which is concentrated in this congressional district — we have the highest employment in terms of the aerospace industry.  They’re moving further north.  Obviously, the Air Force base – the largest employer in the congressional district – and so there is a lot of are severest was the Everest base was important congressional district in so there’s a lot of contracting that goes on in support of that, a lot of economic development that occurs as a result of having the Air Force located here.  And as we as we move further north, obviously we have the Anschutz Medical Center, a lot of healthcare there, a lot of small businesses in support of that.  And then, as we go further north, in the Brighton area, we have a lot of vegetable famers.  And I’m going to be up there next week talking to them and their challenges, and they’re small businesses, as well.

SCHMIDT:  Congressman Coffman, you mentioned earlier about, you know, recovering from recession and those tough times.  Do you think the economic recovery has lifted small business owners in Colorado?  Or are they still struggling?

COFFMAN:  Well, I think that the – we are doing better than a lot of states in terms of bringing our unemployment numbers down in the state of Colorado, although I think that the work participation rate is another factor that I think people aren’t looking at.  We’ve got to do things – we’ve got to reform our disability program.  We’ve got to encourage work over welfare.  One thing that I’m concerned about, — and increase in the minimum wage where there’s not the productivity to support that, and its impact upon small business.   One thing I’m working on is a reform of the Earned Income Tax Credit that would take the fraud out of it, move the dollars saved in that fraud by –.  It is a program to reward low-wage employers – [correcting himself] employees–who work in jobs, but right now it’s weighted towards low-wage employees that have children.  What my legislation does, it moves at all to single low-wage employees that don’t have children —  [who are] childless — and it lowers that age from 25 to 21 years old.  And – and, because what we want to do is we want to reward work over welfare.  It was estimated — in 2014, we had an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office that essentially said that if you, at that time, increased the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, that you would lift 9,000 Americans out of poverty, but you would also cost the economy 500,000 jobs.  And so, what my proposal does is it lifts people out of poverty without costing this economy jobs.  And so I  — and again, it rewards work over welfare, and I think that’s important.

GUEST CO-HOST:  Thanks, Mike, for that.  One of the things that we certainly understand is the impact of Dodd-Frank and access to capital, and how that impacts small business as well.  You mentioned a couple other very Colorado specific pieces of legislation we’re dealing with:  the minimum wage ballot proposal the voters will face in November, [and] certainly we have Amendment 69 – Colorado Care – as well.  We’ve got less than a minute, if you want to address any of those quick topics.

COFFMAN:  Well, I think Colorado Care is a killer to this economy.  You know, I deal with government-run healthcare all the time as a member of Veterans Committee in the Congress of the United States, and the problems of government-run healthcare and how it’s not meeting our nation’s obligations to our veterans.  But that is – that would be devastating – a government takeover of healthcare and a commensurate rise in taxes to support a very inefficient, ineffective system as I think it would be.  You know, and I certainly hope that the people of Colorado vote that down, and I’ll certainly be voting ‘no’ this November on that particular proposal.

SCHMIDT:  Thank you so much, Congressman Coffman.  We’re talking with – we’re talking about the Job Creators Network “Bringing Small Businesses Back” campaign.  And we thank you, Mike Coffman, for joining us today.  And we’ll be back with more with Heidi Ganahl on Connect & Collaborate, the voice of the Colorado Business Roundtable.