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14th Dist. candidates disagree on job creation
By James Fuller | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 1/19/2010 12:00 AM

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Republican challengers for the 14th Congressional District said job creation is the United States' No. 1 problem during a League of Women Voters forum Monday night.

But one of the few policy differences between Ethan Hastert and Randy Hultgren lies in just how to create those jobs.

Hultgren believes in the extension and expansion of several tax credits to cut down on unemployment.

Hastert is not a fan of tax credits or the federal stimulus plan. Instead, he favors a general economic policy of what he described as keeping government off the backs of business owners.

"You can't spend your way to prosperity," Hastert said, citing the relative dearth of jobs created by the federal stimulus compared to the amount of tax dollars spent in the program as evidence of that. "What I've heard from business owners... isn't necessarily that they're interested in a tax credit. They don't want more government. They want the government off their back."

Hastert said that means giving businesses a certain level of comfort about investing in their businesses by not creating new expenses for them through costly health care reform changes to their insurance or increased energy costs through policies such as cap and trade.

Hultgren believes in having a job creation tax credit to spur employment. He also wants a 10-year expansion on the research and development tax credit, and favors extending the 2003 tax credits sometimes referred to as the "Bush tax credits."

Hultgren said he also wants to increase the tax credit for children and increase the tax deduction for married couples. Hultgren is a fan of extending the homebuyer tax credit.

The overall message of all those tax credits, Hultgren said, is to create an atmosphere welcoming to businesses and families.

"We need to grow the private sector, and we do that by giving incentives to them," Hultgren said. He pointed to Illinois as a poor example of that atmosphere.

"When we've attacked the private sector and put more fees and taxes and burdens on them, they've chosen to leave the state of Illinois," Hultgren said. "The same thing is happening to the United States of America."