PUBLIC VOICE: SD an example for business

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Farm Forum

What’s the best way government can help business? It’s simple — get outta the way. Here in South Dakota, we are setting an example the rest of the country should emulate. In fact, CNBC recently ranked South Dakota as the top state for business. To keep this progress going, we must push back on attempts by members of the United States Congress to impose onerous taxes and regulations that will hurt businesses, not just in South Dakota, but all across the country. More specifically, taxes on American energy being pushed by President Obama and some members of Congress are reckless and will be detrimental to South Dakota’s economy.

Does it make sense to attack American energy companies by imposing more taxes that will lead to higher energy costs for all Americans? When you tax something, you get less of it. By taxing energy, we will get less energy. However, the demand for energy keeps going up. This means the supply of energy is not able to keep up with the demand for energy. As a consequence, all of our goods and services will cost more.

The price of all American goods is inescapably linked to the price of energy. All goods are directly or indirectly linked to the price of petroleum. Many of our products are made of petroleum. If the derivation of a product is not petroleum, it is still transported by plane, truck or boat — all of which use petroleum. The last thing families in my district need are higher utility bills, more expensive gas and more expensive groceries.

When policy makers say they are looking after the average Joe and small business owners by attacking “big oil,” it seems rather counterintuitive to me. The average Joe and small business owner depends on a steady and cheap supply of energy. The small business owner and the senior living on a fixed income cannot afford dramatic increases in energy costs.

Our state has benefited not only from our own oil reserves, but also from the North Dakota oil boom. The prosperity from the Bakken has spilled over into South Dakota. As a result, new businesses are popping up all over and current businesses are expanding. With these new job openings, people from all across the country are moving here for job opportunities. This influx of people has created a demand for housing — creating thousands of construction jobs.

For me, this is a non-partisan issue. The millions of jobs dependent and created by the energy industry are not Republican, Democrat, union member or non-union member jobs — they are American jobs.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, encouraging policies that create more domestic energy will allow America to finally sever its bonds to Middle East oil permanently. When we have the resources right under our feet, why are we still sending money to unstable and unreliable Middle East countries? More American energy equals more American jobs, prosperity and economic security. And the best part: South Dakota can help lead the way.