KSDebate – Jobs: Aviation jobs in Wichita

Brian Lowry, The Wichita Eagle: The aviation industry in Wichita has seen a 37% decline in employment since October 2008.  Can this industry be saved in Wichita?  If so, what role should Washington play?

Pat Roberts (R): Easy, stop aviation taxes. This administration and the President, who refer to aviation as fatcat corporate jets. I reminded him of that in the city where his mother is from. 27,000 jobs are involved in regards to aviation. The aviation industry can get along fine except for this this administration again and again trying to put taxes on the aviation industry. It’s not so much as what can Washington do for you, it’s what are they doing against you. Consequently, I have been the champion of general aviation. Every time the President said ‘fatcat corporate jets’, I would get down on the floor, saying ‘Sorry, this is a general aviation industry. That’s not right.’ We even had a personal discussion about it.

Greg Orman (I): You know, as the only person on this stage to actually create a private sector job, I think I am probably uniquely qualified to talk about what private sector businesses need. And I’ve put forward my small business plan, and in that plan I talk about a number of things. Number one, we need to roll back the Dodd-Frank regulations on community banks and regional banks. They weren’t the people involved in causing our financial industry to reach the brink of disaster. We shouldn’t be punishing them and punishing companies that serve industries like the aviation industry. We’ve also talked about rolling back regulations and having a review of regulations every 10 years and requiring them to come back for an up or down vote in front of Congress to make sure that the kind of regulations we are imposing on businesses are doing what they are intending to do and not stifling innovation. So I think those are the kind of things we have to do for businesses in general and I think they will help the aviation sector in Kansas as well.

Rebuttal, Pat Roberts (R): Job creation indeed. My opponent was the recipient of a $3 million grant — taxpayer money — to start a shrimp farm in the middle of the desert in Nevada. I think the supposition was that somehow people ate so many shrimp cocktails in Vegas, of which he spent many years of his adult life that they would have a shrimp farm in the middle of Nevada. That is a grant of $3 million and I would like for him to explain that. I have the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business. I have the endorsement of the Chamber of Commerce.

Moderator Darren Dedo: Here’s your chance. Let’s address the shrimp farm in the middle of the desert if you will.

Greg Orman (I): I am proud of my private sector track record of creating jobs and opportunities for people and value for shareholders. I have been involved with, as an investor, in over 40 businesses. Senator Roberts is just revealing the fact that he spent the last 47 years in Washington because he doesn’t realize that not every business succeeds. Not every business is a success. If they were, everybody would be running big businesses and we would all be successful. We do run into these issues. I am proud of my private sector track record and I’ll compare it to the senator’s anytime.

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