Johnny Isakson's Position Statement on the Economy

As a businessman, a taxpayer and a grandfather, keeping America’s and Georgia’s economy strong is one of my top priorities. I remain committed each day to doing all I can to keep our economy growing and facilitate job creation and wage growth. 

1. Reform Our Tax Code

In 2017, we passed H.R.1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, to simplify tax filing, reduce the burden on small business, and bring more than $2 trillion in “trapped” overseas cash back to the United States where it can be put to use creating jobs and investing in our communities. The new tax law puts more money in your pay check by doubling the standard deduction and the child tax credit, reducing marginal tax rates, and eliminating the unfair tax penalty on individuals who can’t afford to sign up for Obamacare. Congress must now act to make tax relief for the middle class and small businesses permanent.

The tax reform law also created a new incentive for investing in economically distressed communities that are designated as Opportunity Zones. It’s important to ensure that all Georgians and all Americans have the opportunity to share in economic prosperity, instead of investment dollars being concentrated in a few large metropolitan areas.  

2. Roll Back Regulations

We need to cut red tape that is strangling small businesses. While the “too big to fail” companies have enough resources to devote to regulatory compliance, the avalanche of new regulations that came from Washington under the previous administration threatened to make the rest of our economy “too small to succeed.”

I have led the fight and passed resolutions through the House and Senate to overturn intrusive regulations, which divert resources away from business and employee growth. I support legislation to rein in Washington bureaucrats by requiring Congress to vote on regulations with a major economic impact before they can take effect.

3. Invest in Georgia

We can grow our economy by investing in Georgia, specifically by investing in infrastructure to strengthen Georgia’s position as a crossroads for commerce and transportation.

I successfully secured federal funds to expand the Port of Savannah, which supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in Georgia. I helped pass the first long-term highway bill in a decade so Georgia can partner with the federal government to maintain our roads and bridges and build new ones to support our growing population.

4. Empower Our Workforce

A strong economy begins with our workers. We need to build a skilled workforce by helping people who are looking for jobs acquire the skills that employers need in a 21st century economy.

I led a bipartisan coalition in 2014 to pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the first major reform of federal job training programs in 20 years. In 2018, we built on the success of this critical legislation with the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. This bill reauthorizes the Perkins career and technical education program and better aligns education and workforce training programs together.

5. Expand Energy Independence

I believe we can make America energy independent by expanding production of American energy resources while also supporting conservation.

I support an “all of the above” energy policy to help make America energy independent. I am leading efforts to promote clean nuclear energy that meets strict safety standards and to make it cheaper for homeowners to finance energy-efficiency improvements.

6. Strengthen Our Rural Economy

Agriculture is the leading industry in Georgia’s vibrant economy. We can strengthen the rural economy by supporting the development of agriculture and natural resources.

The “Waters of the United States” rule was an example of an overbearing federal policy that would hurt rural Georgia. I will always advocate for federal policies that support Georgia farmers, and I have introduced bipartisan legislation to help rural hospitals, which are the biggest employer in many communities.

7. Create a Level Playing Field

Congress must create a level playing field by allowing businesses to compete on the basis of value and quality, rather than government picking winners and losers.

I have fought for fair trade for Georgia’s producers and exporters, such as forcing South Africa to end its unfair blockade against Georgia poultry. I am fighting to end special interest giveaways that hurt Georgia, such as the ethanol mandate.

8. Protect Main Street, Not Wall Street

America needs to improve access to capital for Main Street businesses by allowing them to obtain financing from their local bank instead of having to go to Wall Street firms or Silicon Valley venture capitalists.

The Senate voted in 2018 to roll back excessive regulations that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law put on our community banks and credit unions. I support making the regulators accountable to the people’s elected representatives in Congress.

9. Help Our Entrepreneurs Thrive

We can promote entrepreneurship by supporting a legal and regulatory climate that’s friendly to innovation.

In addition to supporting tax simplification and regulatory reform, I am fighting against efforts to undermine legal protections for entrepreneurs who enter into franchise agreements with retail and restaurant brands, or who participate in the emerging “sharing economy” with companies like Uber, Lyft, and AirBnB. I am also working to streamline the regulations that affect innovative Georgia technology companies in areas like electronic payments processing and medical devices.

10. Make a Budget and Cut Spending

Our government must do what every American family has had to do: Sit around the kitchen table, reprioritize expenditures and get a budget in line with expenditures. We can find savings by slowing down government growth, cutting wasteful spending and finding new ways to be efficient. We also need to improve the federal budget process, which Congress too often fails to complete. I have advocated moving to a biennial budget and appropriations process where each two-year session of Congress would use one year to allocate funding and the other year to conduct oversight of federal programs to identify opportunities for savings.


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