(By Nick Schneider)
The medical doctor, who is a first-term U.S. Representative from Evansville where he heads a successful cardiology surgery group, says it's the No. 1 thing people want to talk about.
"There is obviously a difference of opinion among the (Obama) administration and the House (of Representatives) and people like me, the Republicans, on how to do that. My view is, and what I hear from employers, is really three big things. The uncertainty in the regulatory climate, especially as it relates to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and around here the Mine Safety Health Administration. Uncertainty about regulation is a huge deal," Buschon explained. "Another one is, the uncertainty about what is going to happen with taxes. Small business owners and corporation that pay their taxes through the personal tax code are very worried about what is going to happen on the tax side. It's the uncertainty about it that is the problem. Most business people will tell you, 'Tell me what (the taxes) are going to be and I'll tell you how I can hire people. With the constant uncertainty, I can't hire anybody'."
Buschon said people are also concerned about the uncertainty of the federal government's own fiscal house.
When asked what can be done, Buschon was quick to reply that the government needs to scale back some of its regulations.
"Right now, these agencies are scaling up regulations ... everybody out there is not sure what the next move EPA is going to make, for example or what move Mine Safety is going to make. What we are talking about on the Republican side of the House is just stop releasing regulations and let's keep things fair, practical and necessary," Buschon pointed out.
Buschon believes broad tax reform is needed -- both on corporate and personal taxes.
"On the personal side, we had tax reform in 1987 and since that time we've changed the tax code about 15,000 times. We need to simplify the code and clear out a lot of the complicated underbrush in the tax code so people know what they are going to pay," he said. "I'm not for raising taxes on one sector of the economy. I think right now when you have a high unemployment and you raise taxes on the higher income earners and they are not going to create any jobs.
"Arguing right now that the higher income earners aren't paying their fair share is not true. The data shows that. The top 1 percent of income earners are paying about 38 percent of the taxes. The top 10 percent are paying about 70 percent of the taxes."
Buschon serves on the Education & the Workforce Committee; Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; as well as Science, Space, and Technology Committee. He's also a member of the House Coal Caucus and Natural Gas Caucus.
Buschon said he was opposed to previous government bailouts of banks and financial institutions and will continue to be in the future.
"You can't keep bailing out one segment of the economy here and there," he stated. "You have to adapt. In this country, if you run a business well, you are successful. You make mistakes and your business goes away. So I think that has worked for many, many years."
He said spending has to be cut -- with discretionary spending going up more than 20 percent in the last 2 1/2 years.
He also believes the massive NSA Crane complex and WestGate at Crane Technology Park in Greene, Daviess and Martin counties plays a significant economic role in Indiana.
Buschon is pitching the value of those military security facilities as critical jobs on Capital Hill.
Earlier this year, at the invitation of Buschon, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), a senior member of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, visited NSA Crane.
Buschon hopes to bring other high level lawmakers to the area to get a first-hand look at the high-tech work that is being carried out in support of the nation's warfighters.
"Congressman Conaway came away very impressed. It's really important because if there is ever another BRAC, the more people that know what we are doing here in Indiana the better," he said. "The economics of Crane is outstanding and we intend to tell more people in Washington D.C. about it."
This is the second in a series of stories talking with Indiana Eighth District Congressman Larry Buschon about issues he's dealing with in Washington D.C. and their impact on southern Indiana.