The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
June 17, 2004

Remarks by the Vice President at Nextech Materials
Nextech Materials Ltd.
Columbus, Ohio

2:55 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you all very much. I want to thank you for that warm welcome, and Bill and Scott for showing us around this superb facility today. We're grateful for the chance to greet the men and women of this growing company, a great success story. And it's my pleasure to bring greetings to all of you from our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)

Here at NexTech, you've created a model of entrepreneurship and growth for small businesses all over the country. Ten years ago, you started work on critical components for fuel cells, promising new technology with the potential to produce clean, efficient energy. You took a risk by entering an unproven industry, worked hard to meet all the challenges that come with bringing new products to market, and now your optimism and your dedication are clearly paying off.

You've moved to an expanded facility, increased your sales, doubled the size of your work force in the last two years alone. And after meeting Nextech's fine scientists and engineers, something tells me you're not through yet. (Applause.) You're going to see a lot of growth in the years ahead.

It's not hard to figure out why the company's doing so well, because you've got strong leadership and a terrific team. You're developing the emerging technology to power key elements of our 21st century economy, from factories to cars. You've made this into a great American company and on the President's behalf, I want to congratulate each and every one of you. It's a great accomplishment. (Applause.)

One of our goals for our nation is a strong, healthy, vigorous, growing economy and that starts with thriving small businesses. We understand as you do that the role of government is not to create wealth. The role of government is to create an environment that rewards the spirit of enterprise so that employers and employees and entrepreneurs have the confidence to expand, to invest, and to hire new workers. That's the principle behind our pro-growth agenda and we believe that we've got a lot to show for the effort.

As all of us know, these past three-and-a-half years have brought many challenges to our economy and to America. We've been through a lot together. We faced recession, terrorist attack, and the uncertainties that exist as a result of the war on terror. Yet, we've come through all of these challenges, and now we see an economy that gets bigger and better every day, thanks to the steady effort to America's workers. (Applause.)

You all are the ones that make this possible, as well as the sound policies and, I believe, the leadership of our President. Our pro-growth strategy begins with leaving more money in the hands of the people who earn it. (Applause.) So we proposed and delivered three rounds of tax relief, in 2001, 2002 and 2003, reducing the federal tax burden on every American who pays income tax. When we passed those tax relief measures, some people back in Washington had their doubts. They said tax relief wouldn't matter at all to most people. But out here in the real world, things look a little different.

Since President Bush took office, more than 4.4 million taxpayers in Ohio have seen their income tax bills reduced. More than 1.2 million married couples in Ohio are benefitting from reduction in the marriage penalty. And 1 million families in Ohio have benefitted from the increase in the child credit. The average savings from the President's across-the-board tax cut tops $1,500 for individuals and families. Some say that's not much, but it sure feels like a lot when you have to send it to Washington. We did the right thing by returning it. (Applause.) By putting more money into the private economy, tax relief has also helped more Americans find jobs. Small businesses create most of the new jobs in America so we designed tax relief to help small businesses expand and hire more workers. We cut marginal tax rates to benefit sole proprietors who pay business taxes at the individual tax rate. We increased the annual deduction for equipment purchases for small businesses, from $25,000 to $100,000. And for the good of family businesses, farmers and ranchers, we began to phase out the unfair federal death tax.

The President's economic program has made a difference for many small businesses all across Ohio. Nearly 860,000 business owners in this state have seen their federal tax burden go down since 2001. And they're putting that money to good use now, expanding their businesses, and Ohio's jobs are coming back. About 4,300 workers found new jobs in April here in Ohio, and about 35,000 Ohioans have gone back to work since December. Your unemployment rates dropped from 6.3 percent last summer to 5.8 percent in April. We are witnessing that same upward trend all across the country.

In the nation at large, we added 248,000 jobs in May alone, our ninth consecutive month of job creation. American businesses have created jobs for nearly a million workers in the last three months alone. We've added 1.4 million jobs since last August. Manufacturing jobs have increased for four straight months and more manufacturers are reporting increased activities than at any times in the last 20 years.

The national unemployment rate is now 5.6 percent, down from 6.3 percent last June, and below the average of the 1970's, the 1980's and the 1990's. The results are coming in: the Bush tax relief is working. (Applause.)

We're seeing great progress in many other areas as well. In the first quarter of this year, the economy grew at a strong rate of 4.4 percent. Over the past year, economic growth has been 5 percent. That's the fastest rate over a year since Ronald Reagan was in the White House. In the past 12 months alone, Americans have seen their real per-capita, disposal income -- the best measure of the money people actually have in their wallets -- increase 3.3 percent. That's significantly higher than the 1.4 percent in the year before the President took office.

The home ownership rate is the highest ever. Interest rates and inflation are low. Manufacturing activity is increasing, productivity is high, business investment and factory orders are rising. America's economy is moving in the right direction; don't let anybody tell you otherwise. (Applause.)

It's clear the President's tax relief has done exactly what it was designed to do, added momentum to America's economy and to help more people find jobs. Yet for all our progress, we still have plenty to do. We recognize there are still challenges, especially in our manufacturing community. That's why we'll keep moving forward with a comprehensive pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We intend to reduce the number of mandates and unnecessary regulations coming out of Washington, D.C. The Small Business Administration estimates regulations cost small businesses $7,000 per worker every year. That discourages hiring, stifles innovation, often without any benefit to the public interest.

So we've streamlined the tax reporting requirements for small businesses, spared them from more than 50 million hours of unproductive work. We're going to continue that effort. Small businesses should be able to spend their time becoming growing businesses, not filling out useless paperwork to satisfy the bureaucracy in Washington. (Applause.)

As you know well, here at NexTech, a healthy growing economy also depends on affordable, reliable supplies of energy. We need to pass sound energy legislation to promote the kind of clean, efficient technology you're helping to produce. There's a lot of promise in fields like nanotechnology and hydrogen energy. We need to maintain American leadership in those areas by funding aggressive research development. Our administration has doubled federal funding for nanotechnology research and development. The President also recently signed the Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, which authorizes four years of additional research and development funding.

We also need to promote conservation and new domestic production. Had we started the environmentally safe development of ANWR 15 years ago when it was first proposed, that oil would now be arriving by pipeline at the rate of up to a million barrels a day. For the sake of economic security and national security, Congress needs to pass legislation to make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.)

Our economy also needs lawsuit abuse reform. Junk and frivolous lawsuits can ruin an honest business. They put people out of work. They clog the courts, delaying justice for people with real legal grievances. It's a lot easier for America's entrepreneurs to hire new workers if they don't have to keep hiring lawyers. (Applause.)

We have a plan to help business owners confront the rising cost of health care. We have established health savings accounts so employees can save tax-free for routine medical expenses. We're calling on Congress to pass association health plans so that small business owners can pool risk and better afford health insurance plans for their employees. And we proposed upgrades to our health care information technology, including electronic medical records for more Americans so we can avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce costs, and improve care.

Here in Ohio and across the country, we also need to make sure frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits don't run good doctors out of business and drive up the cost of health care. (Applause.) No one has ever been healed by a frivolous lawsuit, so Congress needs to pass medical liability reform, and do it soon.

One of the most vital choices facing our country is our approach to trade. Here at NexTech, you know the importance of our efforts to break down trade barriers and open up markets around the world. You're growing your business and creating jobs, in part, because you've got customers in nations from Canada to South America, Europe and in Asia. And you're not alone. Ohio companies are exporting products all over the world -- cars and tires, batteries, and jet engines, ball bearings, and electronics, and crops from your farms. Ohio is making what the world wants to buy. The next time you hear someone talking about putting up barriers to trade, remind them, about 97 percent of America's exporters are small or medium-sized companies like this one. Nationwide, one in every five factory jobs directly depends on trade.

And remember also, that workers employed by the more than 900 companies from outside the United States have operations right here in Ohio; add to that all the Ohio suppliers, distributors, and service companies that do business with those companies -- the surest way to endanger all of those jobs would be a policy of tariff and barriers and economic isolationism. We will not give in to that temptation. For the sake of growth and jobs, and for the good of our economic future, the United States of America will remain a confident, successful trading nation. (Applause.)

In order to generate more jobs and maintain economic growth, we also need to create certainty in the tax code. Families and entrepreneurs need to be able to plan for the future. But unless Congress acts, the tax relief that has proven so successful to date will expire. Small businesses across America will lose incentives to invest in new equipment. Marginal tax rates on sole proprietors and families will increase. The income tax burden for a family of four earning $40,000 a year will go up by almost a thousand dollars. Small business owners, farmers, and entrepreneurs will see the death tax rise from the dead.

Higher taxes now would choke economic growth and discourage the strong jobs creation that we're seeing all across the country. For the sake of jobs and for the sake of American families, Congress needs to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.)

In Ohio, and around the nation, American workers and businesses have welcomed President Bush's tax relief and used it to drive the economy forward. And all Americans can be certain we're going to maintain a pro-growth, pro entrepreneur, pro-jobs strategy in Washington, D.C. With the right policies and with the incredible energy and talent of American workers like you, we'll keep a good thing going and see even better days in the greatest nation on Earth.

Once again, thanks for your hospitality. Congratulations on your tremendous accomplishments. Keep up the fine work. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 3:12 P.M. EDT

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