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My Senator Gets it Right

One of our Texas Senators published a commentary in the Austin American Statesman why he is voting against President Obama's $3.6 Trillion budget.

He gets it.

COMMENTARY
Cornyn: Why I'm voting against the budget
John Cornyn, U.S. SENATE Thursday, April 02, 2009

This week, I will vote against the massive $3.6 trillion budget proposed by President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress, and Texans deserve to understand why. I believe this budget taxes too much, spends too much and borrows too much. This budget will delay economic recovery in Texas and across the nation, and it will reduce opportunities for all of us.

This budget will reduce opportunities for people looking for jobs. Nearly three-quarters of all new private sector jobs are created by small businesses. In Texas, we understand that small businesses are the employment engines of our economy, and so we have put in place policies that encourage entrepreneurs to invest in our state and create more opportunities. As ABC News reported last week, only three of the top 39 job markets in the nation gained jobs last year. All three are in Texas, and one of them is Austin.

I have worked to bring successful Texas policies to Washington, especially our policy of keeping taxes low. Once again this year I offered an amendment to make it harder for Congress to increase taxes in future budgets. Had this amendment been adopted last year, 60 votes in the Senate would be required today to increase taxes on America's families and small businesses.

Congress chose not to make it harder to raise taxes, and so this year Obama proposed raising net taxes by $1.4 trillion over the next decade. Much of this burden will fall on our state's most successful small businesses. He has proposed raising the top two tax brackets to a nominal rate of 36 and 39.6 percent, and by limiting deductions for state and local taxes and other expenses, the effective marginal tax rates on thousands of our small businesses will be over 40 percent.

Small businesses make a big contribution to our economy, and charitable organizations do the same for our society as a whole. More than 150 years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville marveled at the spirit of volunteerism in our country, and how quick we were to form "public associations" for the common good. Today, faith-based and community-based organizations heal the sick, feed the hungry and serve the most vulnerable among us.

Charitable organizations depend on the generosity of donors to serve our communities, and for decades we have encouraged this generosity by making charitable donations deductible. But Obama wants to limit this deduction for charitable contributions, which could cost charities nationwide anywhere from $4 billion to $9 billion.

You can see the potential impact right here in Austin. The Austin Pregnancy Resource Center is a 501c(3) organization that provides counseling and services to women who are pregnant or who may think they are pregnant. Some of their clients are students. Some are homeless. Some are victims of domestic violence and other abuse.

The center provides these confidential services at no cost to women in need. It relies completely on donations from individuals and businesses to fund its programs. Thanks to the generosity of the Austin community, the center now has two full-time employees, one part-time employee and about 60 volunteers.

The recession has made it harder for the center to raise money — even as the demand for its services increases. In just one day this month, the center received nearly 20 calls from women who could not afford to buy diapers. In the words of Executive Director Lori De-Villez, "There are many times where a bag of diapers or a can of formula truly means the difference between 'Do I eat today, or provide for my baby?' "

The center works to ensure that its clients don't have to face such a terrible choice. De-Villez estimates that up to 10 of the center's largest donors would see their taxes go up under the president's plan. She would like to see policies that would expand her pool of potential donors — rather than dry it up.

I believe that charitable organizations like the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center, as well as thousands of successful small businesses across our state, help make Texas a better place. They deserve our support. They do not deserve to suffer the impact of higher taxes. I will continue to bring the experience of successful Texas policies to our nation's capital, and help more people contribute to the common good.

Cornyn is a Republican from Texas.

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