Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to speak with concerned citizens from all across southeastern Minnesota.

The issues people are most concerned about are health care reform, excessive government spending, and most notably, the state of our economy.

People who have lost their jobs are looking for work and businesses that have been forced to cut costs are anxious for our economy to turn up. There are two very different approaches to help stimulate economic development.

One approach, which happens to be the current approach, is trying to tax and spend our way out of these difficult economic times. With our unemployment rate reaching a 26-year high, this obviously is not the answer.

When government raises taxes and increases regulations on businesses a ripple effect occurs, and businesses are forced to cut costs and raise prices.

When businesses are forced to cut costs, jobs are the first to go, followed by reduced spending for equipment, services, and charitable giving.

If businesses are forced to raise prices to offset the higher tax burden, consumers end up paying more. These results all impact our economy negatively.

The second approach is creating an economic environment that encourages job growth and private sector development.

This is accomplished by doing the exact opposite ... lowering taxes and reducing unnecessary regulations on businesses.

This would allow businesses to maintain and create jobs, increase spending, and give more to our local communities and non-profit organizations. This approach would result in long-term economic growth.

The Democratic governor of Maine, John Baldacci, had it right when he led a Democratic legislature to reduce taxes on job providers.

He argued, "Without employers, you don't have employees. The best social services program is a job." (Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2009)

Instead of penalizing those who provide jobs, provide group health insurance, purchase equipment, and invest in our communities, let's reward them. Instead of driving jobs out of our state and country, let's bring them in.

It's time for our lawmakers to put politics as usual aside and do what is best for the American people. It's time that we start working together toward policies that encourage job growth and stimulate our economy.

What are your thoughts?

Jeremy Miller

Winona

Candidate, MN District 31

State Senate