For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
April 30, 2004
Remarks by the Vice President at Coating Excellence International
3:55 P.M. CDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you, Mike. And I appreciate that warm welcome to Wrightstown. I'm grateful for the chance to speak to the men and women of CEI.
Let me, at the outset again, I know Mike introduced two of our veterans here -- who are here today. And let me say on behalf of all Americans, we really appreciate -- want to thank you for what you've done for all of us. (Applause.)
I want to thank Congressman Mark Green and Congressman Tom Petri and your state assembly speaker, John Gard, for flying in with me today on Air Force Two. And it's my honor to bring greetings to all of you from our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
And it's good to be back in Brown County. I've been in this part of the state many times over the years, going back to the 1960s. And what a lot of people in Wisconsin don't know, probably because they aren't as old as I am -- (laughter) -- that I used to work for Warren Knowles. One of my very first jobs in politics was working for your Governor Warren Knowles. We had the chance to visit Green Bay and Appleton and many other communities all over the state in 1966, when I campaigned with him across the state. My oldest daughter was born down in Madison, and she now has three children of her own -- soon to be four. And it's great to come back to get to spend some time in Wisconsin. It's a great state, and it's always fun to come back.
Ever since we lived in Wisconsin, the upper Midwest has been one of our favorite parts of the country. It's a lot like my home state of Wyoming -- terrific people, plenty of wide open spaces, and great hunting and fishing, and an occasional cold winter. (Laughter.)
But this is also a great state because of the confident and enterprising people -- where people take their responsibilities seriously, put their hearts to work, and give everything they can to building better communities and better lives for their children. And I see that optimistic spirit right here at CEI. You've shown a remarkable potential for growth in America's economy -- seven years ago, starting manufacturing paper products with 15 employees Today, your payroll is over 200, and with Mike's good news today, I want to congratulate CEI on the upcoming addition of 70 new jobs over the course of the coming year. (Applause.)
When you take a place like CEI, it doesn't take long to figure out how you've become such a success. The company is filled with dedicated workers, committed to making some of the finest paper products in the world. You also have strong, focused management -- the kind of leaders who care about long-term results and are willing to take intelligent risks to create new business. With hard work, a lower federal tax burden, and powerful incentives to invest -- (applause) -- you've turned a start-up business into a growing and great Wisconsin company. And I'm proud to congratulate you on your winning strategy and a winning team.
As Mike mentioned, our economy has been through some tough times these past three years. We've faced recession. And we had the terrorist attack on 9/11, and the uncertainty of war. Yet, through all of these challenges, the economy has been amazingly strong and resilient. It's grown because of the steady effort of our citizens, and because of -- I believe -- the sound policies and leadership of our President. (Applause.)
The President and I know the best way to expand the economy and to create jobs is to leave more money in the hands of the people who earned it. (Applause.) So we've delivered three rounds of tax cuts, and fulfilled a major economic goal -- to reduce the federal tax burden on every single American who pays income taxes.
Since President Bush took office, more than 2.1 million taxpayers in Wisconsin have seen their income tax bills reduced. More than 710,000 married couples in Wisconsin are benefiting from marriage penalty relief. And over 520,000 families in Wisconsin have benefited from the increase in the child tax credit. (Applause.) We like the kids down front. (Laughter.)
Over 440,000 small business owners in your state have seen their federal tax burden go down, which will make it possible for them to invest in new equipment, expand facilities and hire additional workers. The average savings in the President's across-the-board tax cuts tops $1,500. Some critics say that isn't much. But it sure feels like a lot when you have to send it to Washington -- and Washington did the right thing by letting you keep it. (Applause.)
We're beginning to see results now throughout the country in terms of our economy. In the first quarter of this year, the data just out shows that our growth rate was 4.2 percent. Over the last three quarters, rate of growth in the economy has been 5.5 percent -- the fastest pace since Ronald Reagan's first term in the White House. Last month we added over 300,000 new jobs, and since August, over 750,000 new jobs nationwide. The home ownership rate is the highest ever. Interest rates and inflation are low. Manufacturing activity is increasing. Productivity is high. Business investment is rising. America's economy is moving in the right direction. (Applause.)
For all of this progress, there's more work to be done. The goal of our administration is a strong, vigorous, growing economy in every part of Wisconsin, and all across the country. We want to see more opportunities for citizens, more new jobs, and more small businesses in our communities. And so we're going to keep moving forward with a clear, comprehensive, pro-growth policy.
We start with a clear understanding of the role of government. We know that America's $10-trillion economy is sustained by the free enterprise system, and by the hard work of the nation's entrepreneurs and workers. Government spends a lot of money, but it does not build factories, or meet company payrolls, or do the work that makes the economy grow. The federal government's job is not to manage or control the economy, but to remove obstacles standing in the way of faster growth. The key to more jobs is not more government, but free enterprise, and low taxes, and spending discipline in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
We need fewer mandates, and fewer unnecessary regulations from Washington. Companies like CEI should be able to spend their time building the business and adding jobs, not filling out a lot of useless government paperwork. (Applause.)
And our economy needs litigation reform. Junk lawsuits are cluttering the courts, weakening our economy, and hurting employers and workers. America's entrepreneurs should be able to hire productive workers, instead of hiring lawyers. (Applause.)
And we should help business owners control the rising costs of health care. Here in Wisconsin and across the country, we need to make sure frivolous lawsuits don't run good doctors out of business and drive up the cost of care. No one has ever been healed by a frivolous lawsuit -- so Congress needs to pass medical liability reform soon.
A healthy, growing economy also depends on affordable, reliable supplies of energy. We need to pass sound energy legislation that promotes efficient technology, conservation, and new production. It is time to make the United States of America less dependent on energy supplies from foreign countries. (Applause.)
We also need to knock down trade barriers, and open up new markets around the world for American farmers and ranchers and entrepreneurs and manufacturers. In 2003 alone, exports from Wisconsin topped $11 billion. As the President pointed out last month in Appleton, Wisconsin's exports to Canada have risen. Exports to Mexico have risen. Exports to China rose four fold in the last four years. Wisconsin is even exporting cheese to France. Not bad. (Laughter and applause.) And Wisconsin is selling what the world wants to buy.
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 under current law, many of the tax cuts we've enacted are set to expire a few years down the road. We need to remove that uncertainty. For the sake of jobs, and for the sake of American families, Congress needs to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.)
American workers and businesses welcomed President Bush's tax relief. They've helped drive our economy forward, and they're playing a crucial part in keeping America the most prosperous country in the world.
It's an honor to stand with the workers of this outstanding company. And once again, congratulations on your accomplishments, and good luck to all of you in the years to come.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 4:07 P.M. CDT