Congressman visits Alabama leaders, talks taxes


U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, knowing Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley was a doctor, joked when he met him Monday that he had a rash for him to look at.

U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, left, R-South Carolina, talks to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley on Monday at the Capital City Club. (Sebastian Kitchen/Montgomery Advertiser)

Bentley told Scott, a Republican from South Carolina in his first year in office, he would have to bill him since he was not taking a salary as governor. Scott later asked Bentley, who campaigned on and often talks about not taking a salary until Alabama reaches full employment, about that decision.

Scott, considered a rising star in the Republican Party, was in Alabama for his first official visit on Monday. He said he stopped in the state several years ago for a conference when he operated as an agent for Allstate Insurance Company.

Scott, previously a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, said he took the opportunity to come to Alabama, learn about the state and meet with top Republicans and business leaders.

Scott met with Bentley; House Speaker Mike Hubbard; state Reps. Jay Love and Barry Moore; Randy Brinson of the Christian Coalition of Alabama; and Jerry Newby, president of the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance Companies. He was at the private Capital City Club.

Scott and Love, a Montgomery Republican who is chairman of the House education budget committee, talked about being small businessmen. Love once owned 17 Subway franchises, which he sold before an unsuccessful run for Congress, and now owns a Marco’s Pizza franchise and is working to open another location.

After stopping in Montgomery on Monday afternoon, Scott planned to drive to Mobile for more meetings with leaders.

The congressman talked about creating jobs, lowering taxes and presidential politics.

Scott, who was on the city council in Charleston, said he wants to make “America stronger from a southern perspective,” utilizing the common sense from this region to help American families and businesses.

He said businesses need an incentive to begin creating jobs. Businesses, according to multiple reports, have stockpiled more than $1 trillion collectively instead of spending it to hire or expand.

There is too much uncertainty, Scott said.

“The missing ingredient is confidence,” he said.

Scott said businesses need to make plans 10 years out so extending tax cuts a year or two years at a time does not help their long term planning.

Scott said there are great incentives to create jobs — removing obstacles for businesses including taxation and regulation. He wants to lower the corporate tax rate to 23 percent, well below the current top level of 35 percent.

The congressman said some of his colleagues believe 25 percent is more reasonable.

“I’ll negotiate,” Scott said and said even President Obama has indicated that is an area where there is the potential to negotiate.

Lowering that tax and creating certainty would put “job creators in the driver’s seat,” he said.

Scott was one of many new Republican congressmen that swept into office after the November elections, but his election was unique.

Scott joined Allen West of Florida as the first black Republicans in Congress since 2003. They received support from tea party groups. West defeated an incumbent while Scott easily defeated his Republican and Democratic opponents to win an open seat.

– posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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