Rep. Chuck Fleischmann pitches jobs plan

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann pitches jobs plan

September 27th, 2011 by Chris Carroll in News

Chuck Fleischmann

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann released a 33-page jobs plan Monday that's high on ideas and low on specifics.

Among other aims, the Republican from Chattanooga wants to eliminate the capital gains tax for businesses and individuals for two years. Fleischmann's plan says legislation is "being drafted" to achieve that goal.

According to House financial disclosures filed May 16, Fleischmann reported a Wells Fargo investment valued between $500,001 and $1 million that included capital gains income.

Records show the investment garnered between $15,001 and $50,000 last year. Fleischmann said Monday that Wells Fargo no longer manages the money.

"I probably couldn't tell you what I'm invested in," Fleischmann said. "I leave that to [my advisers]."

The rest of Fleischmann's plan can be gleaned from its title: "Less Government, More Jobs." It follows up on the GOP's stated economic positions, concluding that government regulations, taxes and "frivolous lawsuits" prevent employers from hiring new workers.

Besides the capital gains tax proposal, the plan offers little in the way of implementation. But in an interview, Fleischmann said writing letters to President Barack Obama, working on committees and "co-sponsoring legislation out there that deals with the plan" will get the country where he says it should go.

Chris Brooks, executive director for Chattanooga Organized for Action, said regulations keep consumers and workers safe, adding that tax cuts "would add to our nation's deficit" and won't reduce the jobless rate.

Chris Brooks, executive director for Chattanooga Organized for Action

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

"Chuck's solutions aren't solutions," Brooks said. "They're the same old rhetoric we've heard for the past 30 years."

A 10-page section titled "Action Already Taken" documents Fleischmann's votes on previous bills. Some of them, such as a bill to repeal Obama's health care plan, stalled after passing the Republican-controlled House but failing in the Democratic-majority Senate.

Fleischmann blasted the Senate and the White House for the rejections, pointing to high jobless rates and saying Democrats "need to listen to the American people and realize their ideas have failed."

In his plan, Fleischmann advocates closing all tax loopholes, adding "there would be no need to raise any other taxes" if that happened.

He also accuses the Obama administration of imposing "politically charged regulations" on oil and gas companies in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that killed 11 workers in the Gulf of Mexico and spread oil along the Gulf Coast.

"Additionally, if we speed up permitting and open up additional areas on the Outer Continental Shelf for drilling, the U.S. economy would rake in an additional 1 million jobs in the next seven years," states the plan.

According to the plan's endnotes, Fleischmann obtained those figures from a study sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, the lead lobbying outfit for the oil and gas industries.

Contact staff writer Chris Carroll at ccarroll@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6610.