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WJBD - Local News - Rep. Shimkus Visits Salem, Talks Fracking, Sequestration

Rep. Shimkus Visits Salem, Talks Fracking, Sequestration

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

Congressman John Shimkus feels the Illinois economy will get a boost from fracking.  The topic was one of several dealing with economic issues Shimkus addressed during a lunch with city leaders and supporters at the Pizza Man Restaurant in Salem Wednesday afternoon.   He says the only role government has played in the upcoming fracking boom is passing legislation to provide certainty on regulations.

"It's what the private sector has done with private capital on private land to recover natural gas and crude oil. It puts us in a position to have low-cost energy and compete with manufacturing jobs." Shimkus said, "Companies don't want to stay in the State of Illinois. If we have [fracking] they can start making the business argument for staying here."

Shimkus says despite all the doomsday talk about the economic impact of sequestration, it hasn't happened.  

"Sequestration, as bad as it is, has been very helpful. Even the most recent stories are saying that it wasn't as bad as we thought. We didn't go to double digit unemployment. Now, the economy is not moving as fast as it should, but one of the reasons [it is not as bad] is because we're spending less money." Shimkus said.

Shimkus says on the positive side, the forced budget cuts have reduced this year's budget deficit to $600-billion....less than half what it was in earlier budgets during the Obama administration.  However, he warns discretionary spending could go down to zero and there would still be a budget deficit.  Shimkus says eventually Congress will have to deal with reform to social security, medicare and medicaid.  Shimkus notes right now there is plenty of foreign money willing to loan the U.S. money because it is the best option on the table.  He says when that is no longer the case the U.S. will have to chase borrowed money and could find themselves in a similar situation to Greece.  Shimkus said he supports the Main Street Fairness Act that would require those who make purchases on the internet to pay sales tax.

"A real challenge is that it assumes that you're going to be able to enforce by law that a state can collect the sales tax and remit it back to another state. Even though I am supportive, there are big constitutional problems." Shimkus said.

Salem City Manager Bill Gruen told the Congressman it would be nice to see the revenue lost to internet sales to come back to local communities.  Shimkus started his comments by questioning why President Obama, who he referred to as Campaigner in Chief, was going on a bus tour to talk about rising college costs while he continues not to work with Congress on major spending issues or addressing world issues.  

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