GRAND RAPIDS — There's a light at the tunnel for Michigan's economy — if the right choices are made, according to Carly Fiorina, Republican National Committee chair.
"Obviously, people in Michigan are hurting," Fiorina told the Business Journal this week. "I think the right choices will involve making sure that we don't raise people's taxes right now and making sure that people who want to stay in their homes can."
Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has proposed a comprehensive approach to energy that will help the people of Michigan gain new jobs, whether it be helping the automotive industry move to flex fuel vehicles or cleaner technology or investing in nuclear power, clean coal or natural gas. All of those things will help provide opportunities for the people of Michigan, said Fiorina, who came to town Tuesday to speak at the Greater Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon. She was appointed Victory '08 Chairman for the RNC in March, and as such, she is the primary advocate for McCain and the Republican Party, as well as McCain's senior economic advisor.
"We have to remember that one in five jobs here depend on free trade, so we can't limit our ability to export, but we also have to focus on retraining workers here so they're prepared to take on new jobs," Fiorina remarked. "John McCain has a plan to do all those things."
Fiorina was the first and, to date, the only woman to lead a Fortune 20 company. She was chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co. from 1999 to 2005. She led Hewlett-Packard through the dotcom bust and its then-controversial merger with Compaq Computer, a merger that laid the foundation for Hewlett-Packard to become the first $100 billion information technology company. Prior to Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina spent 20 years with AT&T and Lucent Technologies, where she led Lucent and became president of its largest business division.
"The one thing we can be sure of is that when the economy is tough and people are hurting, you don't raise their taxes," Fiorina said. "We have to make sure that we lower people's taxes, lower businesses' taxes and lower family taxes."
McCain has proposed a doubling of the exemption for dependents for every dependent in every family in America, from $3,500 a year to $7,000 a year, for example. He has proposed giving small businesses tax breaks. That's important, Fiorina said, because small business is the engine of growth in the U.S. economy: Small business produces about two-thirds of all jobs.
When the tax rate in Ireland is less than half of what the tax rate is in America, that's an incentive for some companies to send jobs to Ireland, Fiorina pointed out. McCain has proposed helping the manufacturing industry through comprehensive worker retraining programs and a lower tax rate on businesses so more jobs will stay in America, she said.
"Finally, he would propose a comprehensive approach to achieving independence from foreign oil, which would be a job creator here in Michigan and throughout the country."