For the Daily Journal
The candidates seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Dan Coats say if elected, they’ll work to create a better economic environment in the Hoosier state.
Coats, a Republican who has been in the seat since 2010 after returning from retirement, is not seeking re-election. Republican Todd Young, U.S. representative for Indiana’s 9th Congressional District, faces Democrat Evan Bayh, who served as Indiana’s senator in Congress from 1999 to 2011, and Libertarian Lucy Brenton, who has never held public office.
Brenton is a finance professional who was nominated by the Libertarian Party to run initially against Young and Democrat Baron Hill, who dropped out of the race. That paved the way for Bayh to replace Hill on the ticket.
Brenton said Hoosiers want lawmakers who will help create jobs.
Constituents want lawmakers who will fight to keep companies — such as Carrier, which left Indianapolis for Mexico, leaving thousands of Hoosiers without jobs — in Indiana, Young and Brenton said.
Young said he’s seeking election to ensure his children and other Hoosier students have access to quality education that leads to good-paying jobs in Indiana.
Bayh, who also served two years as Indiana governor, could not be reached for an interview for this story.
One surefire way to keep companies in the U.S. while attracting others is to eliminate corporate income tax, Brenton said, adding those costs are essentially passed on to consumers.
She’d like to see Congress set the corporate income tax to zero, which she said would result in foreign companies fighting to move their operations to the U.S. and bolster the economy.
“If they knew for certain that they could come here and be treated fairly, and if they knew they could come here, and their corporate income tax rate was zero … those companies would flock here. We couldn’t keep them out,” she said.
Current federal business regulations, including those aimed at protecting the environment, are too restrictive and keep companies away, she said.
Instead, companies should be charged to clean up any damage they cause. If business owners knew they would be held liable for damage, regulations wouldn’t be necessary, she said.
“All regulations tell you is how much you’re allowed to cheat,” she said.
Young said one of his top priorities is to make sure every Hoosier has access to a quality job, and business owners creating jobs aren’t burdened by expensive healthcare costs and government regulations.
He’ll seek to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which he said has forced businesses to offer insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours a week, creating a burden on small business owners and resulting in some employers having to cut staffing levels.
Furthermore, environmental policies set by regulating bodies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, have resulted in over-regulation of streams and other bodies of water, which are increasing the cost of doing business, he said.
Regulations such as the Clean Power Plan, which sets a national limit on carbon pollution produced by power plants, are stifling the economy, he said.
Congress needs to loosen the limits it sets for companies and small business owners to enable them to create jobs, he said.
“All of these things are increasing the cost of doing business in the country and decreasing job creation and reducing the wages of rank-and-file Hoosiers,” Young said.
See where the candidates stand on the issues on page Ax.