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Conway vs. Mongiardo on jobs

by Joe Arnold


Posted on February 15, 2010 at 2:18 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 15 at 2:18 AM

Did Democrat Jack Conway's "Jobs Tour" across the Commonwealth resonate with likely primary voters?  How about his fight against "sweetheart deals?"  Is Daniel Mongiardo's focus on coal interests a rallying cry for Democrats? 

It is interesting to watch what themes the campaigns choose to repeat, as not only a reflection of a candidate's platform, but also a reflection of what internal polling tells the campaigns is working.

Conway again sounded the jobs theme last week, and the Daniel Mongiardo campaign picked apart Conway's jobs proposals.

After Conway issued a statement (all statements reprinted below) about  how he agrees with and would improve upon a jobs bill pending in the U.S. Senate, the Mongiardo campaign dismissed Conway's jobs plan as "timid."  Spokesman Kim Geveden said Mongiardo's plan would be bold, and would include clean coal technology.  Mongiardo has made support of Kentucky coal a prominent priority of his campaign.

Meanwhile, Conway is criticizing another "sweetheart deal" in Washington.  The last time he used the phrase was to criticize the special Medicare rate Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) secured for Nebraska in exchange for his vote on Obamacare.  This time Conway is calling for the repeal of one provision of the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act, which "prevents Medicare from using bulk-buying power to negotiate lower prices on prescription drugs."

Here are the news releases from the campaigns, and a reminder to the other campaigns, I welcome your statements as well:

Conway calls for Congressional action to create jobs

LOUISVILLE - Jack Conway, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, today issued this statement regarding the jobs bill, forthcoming this week from the Senate:

"From my conversations with Kentuckians throughout the Commonwealth, it is clear that we need to create jobs because people are hurting and they need help now. That is why I am encouraged by reports the U. S. Senate will soon consider a jobs bill that includes some items I have been talking about, including a job creation tax credit to help Kentucky businesses hire more workers.

"I have also advocated for greater access to loans for small businesses, which can be crucial in helping owners grow and expand their operations; and for a renewal of the research and development tax credit that will encourage entrepreneurs to innovate and create new high-paying jobs. These measures, found in the Senate's proposed bill, are steps in the right direction that will have an immediate impact on job creation.

"However, more needs to be done to ensure that economic recovery in the Commonwealth and the rest of the nation is sustainable and puts our working families back on stable footing. That means closing tax loopholes, shutting down offshore tax havens and eliminating special interest influence from the tax code. It means getting serious about reevaluating trade deals and our economic policy towards China to ensure that our businesses are playing on a level field. It means ensuring greater access to higher education, vocational and job training programs. And it means greater fiscal responsibility so that we can cut the deficit.

"I am running for United States Senate to create jobs and opportunity for Kentucky and to bring accountability to Washington. Here in the Bluegrass State, the voice of the people is loud and clear - Kentuckians want to work and we cannot afford any more delays in Washington. That is why I call on Congress to act quickly in approving a targeted bill free of special interest provisions so we can get help for our families as soon as possible."

Mongiardo Calls for Bold Leadership to Rebuild America and Spur Long-Term Economic Growth to Reduce Deficits

Mongiardo Campaign Calls Conway’s "Jobs Plan" Timid

FRANKFORT – The campaign  of Lt. Governor and U.S. Senate candidate Daniel Mongiardo today said Attorney General Jack Conway’s proposed "jobs plan" – focusing on a series of small business tax credits to hire more workers – will not spur the level of economic growth needed to create significant job growth and get deficits under control.  Instead, Mongiardo called for a bold, comprehensive jobs plan that includes tax cuts for small businesses and fairer trade laws, but also calls for developing new coal technologies to promote private investment in coal-to-fuels, making Kentucky a leader in transforming our broken health care system and rebuilding America’s transportation infrastructure -–it's roads and bridges, rail and mass transit, and locks and dams.

Mongiardo’s campaign spokesman, Kim Geveden said, “The truth is Jack Conway’s so-called ‘jobs plan,’ which largely focuses on targeted small business tax credits, is admirable and will help on the margins; but it is a timid plan.  It is not a plan that will jumpstart our economy, create a significant number of jobs or sustain long-term economic growth sufficient to get our growing deficits under control and reduce our nation’s debt.”

“Daniel believes now is the time for bold leadership to put America back to work.  It is time to rebuild America.  It is time to invest in a stronger America.  By developing new coal technologies and reasonable environmental regulations that actually encourages private investment, rebuilding our cracking highways and rusting bridges, repairing our crumbling locks and dams and developing a 21st century public transportation system, we can spur economic growth and create millions of jobs here in Kentucky and across America.  More importantly, Daniel’s plan lays the foundation necessary to sustain long-term economic growth, which is the key to reducing our deficits and paying off our nation’s growing mountain of debt,” Geveden said.

There is broad consensus among the business community that targeted tax cuts for businesses that hire unemployed workers will not create many jobs.  According to Bill Rys, a spokesman for National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), “There’s certainly nothing wrong with giving a tax break to a business that hired a new worker, especially in these tough times.  But in terms of being an incentive to hire a lot of workers, we’re skeptical.”

The reason businesses aren’t hiring new workers is not because they are waiting for a tax credit, it is because consumers aren’t spending, buying their products or services at sufficient levels or frequency to warrant increasing production and hiring new workers.  And the reason for that is very simple; with unemployment in double digits and credit tight, consumers can’t afford it, Geveden said. 

According to an Associated Press article, “Rick Klahsen, a tax expert at the accounting firm RSM McGladery, said his clients need to see business pick up before they can hire more workers.  If demand were increased, they are saying it will take care of itself because then I will have the motivation to go out and hire new employees.”

The centerpiece to Conway’s "jobs plan" is to exempt businesses from paying a 6.2 percent Social Security tax on wages of new, previously unemployed workers. 

According to the Associated Press analysis, a company could save a maximum of $3,310 for each unemployed worker it hired after the bill is enacted and paid them a salary of $53,400 for the remainder of the year.  The business would get an additional $1,000 on its 2011 tax return if it kept the new worker for at least a full year.

The independent, non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded that reducing Social Security taxes for businesses that hire unemployed workers would generate only eight to 18 full-time jobs per $1 million in tax breaks.  Geveden said Mongiardo’s plan that calls for investing in rebuilding America’s public transportation network would create and sustain an average of 32 to 36 jobs for every million dollars invested – two to four times more jobs than Conway’s plan.

Conway calls on Washington to repeal special interest "sweetheart" deal
Repeal will save taxpayers $200 billion that can be used to create jobs, cut the deficit

LOUISVILLE - United States Senate candidate Jack Conway is today calling on Washington leaders to repeal a 2003 special interest deal in the Medicare law which will cost taxpayers $200 billion over the next decade.

The deal, a provision inserted into the 2003 prescription drug benefit legislation by big pharmaceutical companies, was signed into law by President George W. Bush, and prevents Medicare from using bulk-buying power to negotiate lower prices on prescription drugs.

"Washington cut a backroom deal with the drug companies that will cost taxpayers $200 billion. I'm calling on Democrats and Republicans in Washington to come together and repeal this giveaway and focus on our working families by creating jobs and cutting the deficit."

Allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors is a promise that has been made repeatedly to the American people in the 2004, 2006 and 2008 elections, but leaders in the Senate have not committed to repeal the provision as part of the current health care bill.

Kentucky's seniors face crippling costs on prescription drugs. In fact, about 129,000 seniors in the Commonwealth have prescription drug needs which cost them an average of over $4,000 each year.

A 2009 study by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare found that the Veterans Administration, which is able to use bulk buying power to negotiate lower prices on prescription drugs, pays an average of 48% less for the same drugs as Medicare Part D. Allowing Medicare to negotiate prices could save taxpayers as much as $200 billion over the next 10 years.

"Under my leadership as Attorney General, our Medicaid fraud office has recovered tens of millions of dollars from prescription drug companies that overcharged our state Medicaid program. It's time for Washington to do away with this backroom deal and focus on taking care of our seniors, creating jobs and lowering the deficit," Conway said.