McInnis: Economic boom is over
In the past decade, the United States and Colorado have experienced an economic boom like never before, said Rep. Scott McInnis, who is running for re-election to the United States Congress in District 3.
That boom is over and the government needs to help make sure the economy stays stable, he said.
“The biggest thing we need to do is avoid a tax increase,” McInnis said during a stop in Craig this week. “It’s the wrong time to raise taxes. We need to tighten our belt just like the people who pay the taxes are having to tighten their belts.”
The government can only do so much to help the economy along, he said.
“We need to do what we can to keep interest rates and mortgage rates low,” he said. “But we need to minimize government interference.”
McInnis said he did not think raising the minimum wage was an answer to the problem.
“Raising the minimum wage will not help the economy, especially in areas like this with small businesses,” he said. “If we force people to pay higher wages, they will have to lay people off because their sales are not increasing.”
McInnis, a Glenwood Springs native, was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992.
If re-elected, McInnis said his focus for the upcoming term includes working to protect Colorado’s water resources and preserve its federal open spaces.
“Most people in the east don’t know what public lands are,” he said. “There’s always a threat to multiple use. The ultimate goal of many agencies is to eliminate multiple use on federal land.”
McInnis said areas like Northwest Colorado need someone in Washington D.C. to defend its interests in regard to federal land.
He estimated that 120 communities in the district he represents are, like Craig, completely surrounded by federal land.
“It’s a battle we can’t afford to lose,” he said. “If they did away with multiple use, Craig would not exist.”
One issue McInnis said he wants to continue pursuing next session is getting counties reimbursed fully through the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.
Right now Moffat County is reimbursed 61 cents per acre for its 1.6 million acres of public land.
McInnis introduced a bill last session that would nearly double that reimbursement to $1.03 per acre, which McInnis said local governments deserve.
The appropriations committee pulled the bill this year, but McInnis said he was assured that it would be brought back next year.
“Rural America relies on these programs to produce dollars for everything from roads to schools and social services,” McInnis said. “When Congress short-changed PILT, rural Americans suffered.”
Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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