APPLETON - As the leader of two manufacturing companies, John Dykema is interested in tax reform possibilities. That's why he showed up at a manufacturing roundtable in Appleton organized by Republican Congressmen Reid Ribble and Tom Petri.
"You can't fix a debt problem by cutting things, you have to grow the pie and increase the number of people that are paying taxes," said Dykema
Dykema says making tax code changes would allow him to expand his businesses in De Pere. Ribble and Petri say they see the same need.
"If it was simpler and more understandable, it would be fairer in most instances and it would be easier to comply with and less costly," said Petri.
Eliminating those costs could free up resources for companies to expand. New numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show Wisconsin is falling behind in that department. The state currently ranks 44th in creating private sector jobs. It ranked 42nd in June and 37th last March.
"I know an awful lot of companies in the area that I represent are desperately looking for employees," said Petri. "The difficulty they have is finding people with the skills that are required to operate those machines."
Some Democrats don't see it that way.
"The atmosphere right now, it's really sad," said Randy Bryce with the Ironworkers Local 8.
Bryce says creating public works projects is the source of more jobs. He says Ribble and Petri's roundtable is an example of Republicans being too concerned with the wealthy.
"The only people that they want to have a decent amount of money are those so called job creators and that trickle down economic experiment that's gone on for the last 30 years hasn't worked," said Bryce.
"Both parties are to blame," said Dykema. "They both created the tax mess that we have."
Ribble and Petri say they'll bring suggestions back to Washington in hopes of finding a solution.
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