Monday, December 22, 2008

Tax cuts would help holidays

It’s coming down to the last few days before Christmas, and Mary and I are consciously focusing our time and efforts o­n family and friends. This season is primarily a religious holiday that also happens to have a big social component. We are blessed with healthy children and a vigorous, large extended family, as well as a group of the best friends imaginable. Gratitude is the foundation of all our festivity.

Not a lot of political ferment during this special time. I did, however, have a good conversation with my fellow Rotarians this past week. They always help me put things in a proper perspective. It may be true of all Rotarians, but my Rotary group is made up of some of the most generous, civically engaged, tirelessly philanthropic folks I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

There is also a tremendous reservoir, within the group, of economic common sense. Out of last week’s get-together, there were a few points of consensus that I have taken to heart, which I will share with you: While we are in a serious economic downturn, recessions are not corrected by tax increases. If anything, tax cuts are called for, wherever possible. Secondly, the o­nly sure way out of a recession is to grow out of it. This means preserve the jobs we have and create more jobs as soon as we can.

Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson would do well to attend a few Rotary meetings.

As it happens, the next economic stimulus from the feds is probably coming in the form of infrastructure spending. Our state has more than its share of roads to be built and bridges to be rebuilt, not to mention water and sewer projects to be completed. Many of these projects will be managed at the county and municipal level. I have been in consultation with Beaufort County Council Chairman Weston Newton and County Councilman Jerry Stewart regarding our most promising infrastructure possibilities. I’ve also talked with Bluffton Mayor Hank Johnston and Mayor-elect Lisa Sulka regarding which projects they might consider "shovel ready."

My view, shared with many of the leaders of area government and commerce, is that jobs created in both the public and private sectors will ultimately return our economy to soundness. January will find us with a new federal administration as well as a new session of the General Assembly. I look forward to doing my part in this great work.

For today, let’s do what we can to take care of o­ne another. Jenny Haney at Bluffton Self Help could certainly use your help. Down times make for a bigger need for their services. If you have a good coat you aren’t wearing, donate it to Outside Hilton Head for their coat drive. And at the risk of sounding like your momma, please don’t have that extra cup of eggnog without a designated driver.

Finally, from Mary and I, and Cathy and the legislative staff, and all the good folks over here at the Promenade, please have a merry Christmas and a happy and safe holiday.