LIVE BLOG: Rep. Andy Harris Talks Taxes, Debt at Perry Hall Library
The Perry Hall Improvement Association is featuring guest speaker Congressman Andy Harris Thursday night.
Rep. Andy Harris said he has represented Perry Hall for the past 10 years, first as a state representative, the last two years as a congressman.
Harris spoke about "sequestration" related to the defense cuts that could impact Aberdeen Proving Ground.
He said that 10 percent cuts to defense is bad business and that it should be done "surgically." He said that as of Jan. 1, that cut will go through. He said he thinks that layoff notices may go out in November.
Harris said he hopes to go back into session and delay those cuts.
"We have to do something about the economy and jobs in general ... we are just limping along."
"I hope no matter who wins the election, whatever happens, we need to change policies ... we're obviously still not over it."
He said that foreign policy and the national debt keep him up at night.
"We're going to end up in a Greek style debacle ... we have to look at spending ... we're going to have to have discussions we haven't had in a long time."
Medicare is the biggest problem, much bigger than Social Security, he said.
Medicare will go broke in 10 years. Social Security will go broke in 30 years, he said.
He suggested that residents pay to have a flag flown over the capital, information is available on his website.
An attendee said that the tax system is broke. Harris agreed that it's bad.
He said that on Jan. 1, we revert back to 2001 tax code. He said they all go back up.
"We still think the economy is relatively weak," he said, adding that raising rates on high earners is not the solution and could slow growth.
Economists say it could kill 700,000 jobs, Harris said.
He said that congress will likely extend the Bush tax cuts and essentially do nothing. He said that maybe next spring, it can be simplified.
"The problem is we have businesses not making decisions about how to best manage their business. They decide based on how to get tax breaks ... we have to lower the corporate tax rates ... if you lower the corporate tax rate, you create jobs."
"How can a business plan to expand if they don't know the tax rate on Jan. 1 ... businesses don't want to sit on money, they want to make money."
"If they keep money in a foreign country, it avoids taxes. We penalize repatriation."
"This war on corporations is crazy. We are literally cutting off our noses to spite our faces."
A person asked if businesses are keeping jobs overseas because of cheap labor, not because of the tax code.
Harris said that skilled labor in the U.S. is competitive with the rest of the world, and we're losing jobs to skilled labor in Canada. He said that was because of corporate tax policy.
"Do I wish other countries shared our desire to have good labor laws? Sure. But we need to make our market more attractive," Harris said. "It allows us to generate enough money to keep our country clean ... I want to keep the bay clean like everyone else, but where's the money going to come from."
A resident asked if Congress can do anything to keep the Federal Reserve from printing money. Harris said they can make recommendations.
Harris talked about why he doesn't like the EPA. He said they were trying to shutter coal plants, and said they did not account for the impact on jobs.
"That attitude that Washington has components that don't care about jobs has to stop ... unemployment was at 9 percent that day."
An attendee asked about the health benefits of burning less coal. Harris said there are also health losses that go along with unemployment.
"I wish the government could pay for good health insurance for everyone ... but someone has to pay for it."
An attendee asked about Mitt Romney's budget. He asked if congress would be able to work more successfully with Romney than Obama.
Harris talked about Romney's bipartisan background. "The president has to exert leadership, but the legislature is responsible for policy making."
He said he hopes that Romney has that leadership. He said that Obama has been a disappointment. He said Obama hasn't done what needs to be done to get things done.
Harris said that Obamacare needs to be reformed and Romney would help that along. Harris said that Romney needs to work with whoever is in congress.
"He has to move congress and he has to know what congress is going to look like ... if he has to deal with Harry Reid, it's a different hand than dealing with Mitch McConnell."
"Specifics have to come at a later time."
Harris talked about the hidden costs of Obamacare. "Regardless of who wins the presdential election, I believe we will go in and fine tune the law ... the Senate is going to be more willing to change it."
"If Mr. Obama wanted the Senate to pass a budget, don't you think thye would have passed a budget? ... The president has a lot of power."
Romney will work with independent Democrats, Harris said.
Harris talked about a medicare tax on capital gains over $250,000. "It's one of the 21 new taxes," he said.
A woman said that notices from the IRS are up 700 percent.
Harris said that it's a problem and will need to be addressed. He talked about how medicare billing is impacted doctor's office billing.
Harris said that documentation is not a priority for doctors, and they are concerned about inorrectly filling out paperwork for medicare. They could be charged with fraud.
"It's going to be very difficult to find a physician very soon," he said.
A resident talked about "gerrymandering" in Harris' district. He said Maryland was named worst gerrymandering in the country.
"Is it legal, but is it the right thing to do to that to neighborhoods? Instead of one representative, people are shattered ... it was not generated to provide the best representation for neighborhoods."
He said it's wrong for rural districts to be redrawn to include urban districts.
He urged residents to visit harris.house.gov and visit him in Washington, D.C.
Patch asked how confident Harris was about the upcoming election.
"I'm doing the same thing I've always been doing. I'm still seeing people. I held a town hall meeting today. People are going to go to the polls and vote according to my record," Harris said.
Check back for live updates at 7:30 p.m.
It's a night of political entertainment.
Before curling up in front of the TV to watch the vice presidential debate, Rep. Andy Harris is scheduled to appear at the Perry Hall Improvement Association's October meeting.
Updates on the meeting will be recorded live in this article.
Harris is looking forward to meeting with Perry Hall residents, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Perry Hall Library, according to campaign manager and state delegate Kathy Szeliga.
"Although Thursday night's meeting is not a town hall, residents will be glad to know that Congressman Harris has held 36 in person town halls and 21 tele-town halls," Szeliga stated in an email to Patch.
Harris stated in an announcement: “Town halls are a great way for me to hear from residents in my district and for me to share with them about what’s going on in Washington DC. I enjoy being in the community and hearing from constituents directly about issues they care about."
Harris is up for reelection in November, and faces little opposition.
Democratic primary winner Wendy Rosen, a Cockeysville resident, withdrew from the race after party officials accused her of illegally voting in both Maryland and Florida.
What would you like to ask the congressman? Tell us in the comments.