Scott Gryder, US House 2022 Primary Election Questionnaire – Shaw Local News Network

scott-gryder,-us-house-2022-primary-election-questionnaire-–-shaw-local-news-network

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US House of Representatives 14th Congressional District candidate Scott Gryder answered Shaw Local’s election questionnaire for the US House primary election.

Voting ends for the primary election on the evening of June 28.

Full Name: Scott Gryder

What office are you seeking? Illinois 14th Congressional District

What offices, if any, have you previously held? Chairman, Kendall County Board

Vice-Chairman, Oswego Library District

City: Oswego, IL

Occupation: President of Commercial Services and Senior Counsel, Near North Title Group

Education: 1. Bachelor’s in business administration, University of Illinois-Springfield

2. Juris Doctor, DePaul College of Law

3. Certificate in Illinois County Government, Leadership Academy at the University of Illinois Institute of Government & Public Affairs

Campaign Website: https://www.scottgryder.com/

What is your position re-establishing the Child Tax Credit at $3,500 per child as set in the American Rescue Plan?

I would like to see Child Tax Credit permanency. Yet, I cannot support Joe Biden’s proposal and recommend credit return at the increased level of $2,000 set by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Joe Biden’s reckless increase comes in at 5 times the cost of current law – $207 billion in a decade. When crafting a realistic proposal, we should also consider alternatives better targeting low-income households, retain work incentives, reduce costs, and provide taxpayer stability.

Do you believe that corporations pay enough in taxes?

Our tax code needs reform, and I do not support raising taxes that put American business at a disadvantage on the world stage. American corporate rates were simplified into a 21 percent flat rate in 2017. With an average top corporate rate of approximately 26 percent, the US is now globally competitive with companies returning jobs and profits to our shores. Any federal corporate tax reform would also need to account for other taxes paid by corporations, including state income taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, and excise taxes.

Would you support increases or decreases in the amount of taxes corporations pay? Why?

I would certainly entertain decreasing the corporate tax rate, given the overwhelming benefit corporate tax reform provided the US economy with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Kendall County leads Illinois in growth in part to fiscally conservative tax policies, the same rules apply to nations.

By converting a tiered system with rates as high as 39 percent to a flat rate of 21 percent the US economy saw over $1.5 trillion in profits from foreign tax shelters return to America, driving a booming economy fueled by roughly 450,000 new manufacturing jobs (the highest number in nearly a decade) and a surge in research of 25 percent to allow America to reclaim the title of the world’s most competitive economy.

Allowing Joe Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress to return the US to an outdated non-competitive tax policy would be a major step backward and encourage American industries to relocate plants, jobs, and dollars overseas once again. This would be devastating to local communities.

Do the rich, defined as the wealthiest 1%, pay enough in taxes?

Nationwide, an annual income of just over $500,000 places an individual in the top 1 percent. This sounds like a lot to some, and it is well above the average taxpayer income of $82,535.

However, a large portion of high earners derive income from activities providing significant community benefit, especially small business owners, and other job producers. We should not discourage entrepreneurs from devoting incredible labor and resources on building successful businesses that deliver goods, services, and jobs to their community.

Moreover, our tax system is highly progressive; high-income Americans pay the large majority of taxes, and over time they have shouldered an increasingly larger share of the cost of government.

Instead of increasing taxes on these individuals, we need to examine ways to control spending, or encourage increased economic activity, thereby allowing more people to join the ranks of high earners themselves. That is, unless the rampant inflation we currently face continues to rise and impoverish us all.

Would support changes in the tax code that would increase or decrease their tax burden? Why?

Changes to our tax code must be considered in context of the overall package. I support simplification of the code, which may allow for an increase, or a decrease in corporate tax rates. We could prevent or eliminate some of the tax breaks for the 1 percent proposed by Joe Biden, who allows a family making $800,000 to receive a check of $12,500 to buy a $74,000 luxury electric vehicle. We could end subsidies of nearly $6,000 for families earning over $500,000 to buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act. We could prevent America’s wealthiest private universities from hiding assets and income in overseas tax havens as recently reported by the New York Times.

Do you support raising taxes on capital gains and dividends? Why?

No. Putting aside that raising this rate will not increase tax revenue, I do not support a hike on capital gains and dividends to a top rate of 43.4 percent. For many individuals, especially in dual-income households, purchases of dividend producing assets are made with income already subject to the federal, state, and local taxation, and I believe double taxation of whatever people are able to save after paying taxes is unfair.

Further, proposals to increase taxes on capital gains and dividends is based upon a falsehood. Realized capital gains are largely not income, reflecting inflationary gains since acquisition of the asset and not on income, the proper source of the tax. Taxing inflationary gains in asset value is to tax the capital itself, which as I mentioned, is unfair to hard-working men and women who save to invest, especially during a time when household budgets are crippled due to 40-year high inflation.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a breakdown in this country’s supply chain. What would you propose to fix it?

There are a number of reforms required to alleviate current supply chain pressures and prevent outright breakdowns in the future. Paramount among them is reinvestment in US manufacturing. Additional priority reforms include incentivizing paid work in our ports and supply hubs and investment in needed infrastructure and logistics for more efficient movement of freight.

These are not short-term fixes, however. Ships and ports take time to build. Reforming benefit programs that disincentivize work require political will. We still lack a comprehensive critical infrastructure policy.

Durable fixes to our supply chain require real commitment by policymakers, industry leaders, and other stakeholders to work in partnership for the good of America.

How would you bring back manufacturing jobs?

American manufacturing excels in quality and efficiency, yet our ability to attract investment was hamstrung by an outdated tax code until 2017, when Republican led reforms helped America compete and win, boosting our economy with 400,000 new jobs. While this surge in growth was cut short by Covid-19 and its mandated shutdowns, the pandemic’s exposure of vulnerabilities in America’s manufacturing base has renewed interest and investment in US manufacturing.

Rather than lose momentum again, we need to keep our competitive rate, increase development of needed infrastructure, emphasize R&D in critical technology, and increase prioritization of STEM education and opportunity.

Research and development conducted at US universities provides significant opportunities for STEM training. To stay competitive as a nation, we need to build a scientifically literate citizenry and a bank of highly skilled, STEM-literate employees through continued robust federal support for research combined with science and engineering policies that power economies of local and regional communities across the US.

Considering nearly half of all STEM jobs are open to those without a four-year college degree, effective STEM investments must account for the vital role community colleges, trade schools, apprenticeships, and certification programs play in workforce development.

What plans do you have to help the lower and middle class?

The most durable way to help people is through steady employment. Undeniably, “fixes” in education, healthcare, taxes, and other policies can be identified, but these are little more than band-aids. Americans have made the greatest leaps in prosperity during times when people shut out of economic opportunity were able to work and climb the economic ladder by making better use of their talents and potential. In working to develop a more secure middle class, I would endeavor to foster individual ability to work and succeed with minimal interference from government.

Do you support the idea that government can require immunizations against COVID-19 or other communicable diseases?

I am against mandates and do not encourage increasing government coercion. I believe we must clear a very high bar before limiting individual rights. Regarding Covid-19 vaccines, where high voluntary vaccination rates, increased access to testing, and seemingly diminished effects of later strains of the virus, I do not believe the benefits of imposing a mandate is supported by current evidence.

How do you feel about mask mandates?

Individuals who need or want to take precautions by wearing a facemask are certainly free to do so. However, I oppose mandates generally and mask mandates are government intrusion at its worst.

Is America prepared for either another round of the current pandemic, or the next one?

No.

Do you support new laws or regulations to safeguard people in the event of another pandemic?

No.

Should Medicare be expanded to include dental coverage for older Americans?

Dental health is important to all, and while nearly half of Medicare enrollees do not regularly seek dental care, potentially due to outof-pocket expenses, I am concerned about the cost – estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to be approximately $238 billion in a decade.

Major entitlement expansions should share near unanimity among stakeholders Current proposals being considered in Congress do not enjoy this status – The American Dental Association opposes this proposed expansion believing it will be insufficiently funded and administered.

Medicare Part B Premiums would also certainly rise. According to the 2021 Medicare trustees report, Part B costs are expected to rise, on average, 8.5 percent annually – a 42 percent increase – over the next five years.

Seniors are struggling to maintain household budgets living on fixed incomes that are being eaten away at by runaway inflation and I cannot in good conscience support imposing additional costs upon them.

What are the top two threats to our national security?

State sponsored terrorism by nations like Iran and North Korea remains a leading threat. The expansionist policies and cybercrime emanating from China and Russia are a growing concern. China has stolen billions in intellectual property and pilfered millions of personal records from US agencies and companies. These emerging cyber powerhouses increasingly coordinate cyber-attacks to increase the success of traditional warfare tactics and I cannot overstate the danger they pose.

What should be done to eliminate them?

As the beacon of freedom in an unsafe world, tyranny thrives when America is weakened and we must prepare for challenges to our national interest wherever they arise, especially in regard to supporting our allies and other democratic nations. Every tool in our arsenal must be ready to defeat threats to our common defense, including prudent use of superior diplomatic, military, intelligence, financial, legal, and first responder tactics.

What is your position on climate change and what should be done about it?

I am a champion of realistic, innovative, and common-sense strategies focused on American resources and innovation embraced by the free market. This conservative approach has clearly worked, leading the United States to reduce emissions more than the next seven countries combined from 2005-2020 – all while slashing energy costs for American households and improving livelihoods.

While popular with some, heavy-handed government mandates promoted by “green” rhetoric have failed. The environment has worsened under President Biden. US emissions dropped by 10.2 percent during President Trump’s four years and rose 6.2 percent during President Biden’s first year in office. Ironically, a large part of this spike in emissions came from increased coal burning for electricity which rose 17 percent in 2021, marking the first annual increase in the nation’s coal generation since 2014.

For those who push global compacts that hamstring our economy, I say we can’t tackle global emissions if progress led by American innovation is offset by countries like China who have increased emissions by nearly four tons for every ton the US has reduced.

Tractors made in Des Moines shipped to Brazil are cheaper than in the US because they don’t require the same emission controls as we do. Restrictions have real cost to Americans, and we need to be thoughtful in how we approach our manufacturing policy, or we will continue exporting emissions, job, and dollars overseas.

We should promote increased production and export of American agriculture. Our farmers use less land, energy, water, and release fewer emissions to produce more. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one acre of corn removes 8 tons of carbon dioxide from the air in a growing season. At 180 bushels per acre, corn produces enough oxygen to supply a year’s needs for 131 people.

Current policy kneecaps cleaner domestic oil and gas production increasing our dependence on foreign energy. Continuing to block and obstruct a realistic, cohesive energy strategy will only result in higher gas prices, higher prices to heat and cool our homes, increased inflation, and the continued trajectory of higher emissions.

In Congress I will pursue policies supporting American resources, production, innovation, and the free market to increase U.S. energy and economic security while getting us back on track to support lower global emissions.

What is your position on nuclear energy expansion?

Nuclear energy is a vital part of any realistic energy policy and Illinois leads the nation in nuclear power. According to the US Energy Information Association, Illinois has more nuclear generating capacity than any other state and in 2020, nuclear power plants accounted for 58% of Illinois’s in-state electricity generation. Producing zero emissions, this clean air energy source is the only one currently available capable of producing non-stop reliable energy that we depend on. In addition to the reliability and environmental benefits of nuclear energy, our industry supports nearly 30,000 jobs directly or indirectly, especially for those individuals who work at plants in LaSalle, Will, and Grundy counties. Given the many benefits of nuclear energy, it’s no surprise that bipartisan support for the industry is growing and I encourage increased adoption of this critical component of America’s energy security, especially as new technologies allowing for increased efficiency and safety.

Should America invest in other forms of renewable energy? Please explain.

I support an all of the above energy strategy. While we must take advantage of energy produced by our abundant natural resources of clean coal, oil, and natural gas, I also encourage development of renewable energy. Illinois is fortunate to lead the nation in nuclear power production and is also a leader in research and development of biofuels like ethanol, which serves as an economic engine providing upward of $5billion in economic impact to our state according to the Illinois Renewable Fuels Association. Beyond these sources of energy, I support research and adoption of geo, hydro, wind and solar power. As Kendall County Chairman, I worked to bring about the Kendall County Solar Farm. Located on a once vacant parcel of county property, the farm powers Kendall’s Public Safety Center, County Judicial Center, and Public Health Department and is expected to provide $4 million in savings to the county. Importantly, we did so with no capital outlays.

Should pregnant women have the right to get an abortion?

Life is sacred.

Is the immigration system a problem in this country? If so, what is your plan to fix it?

America has benefitted from the contributions of immigrants who seek to become US citizens in order to obtain a better life for themselves and their families and proudly assimilated into the fabric of our great nation. I know many such wonderful people who call Illinois 14th Congressional District home living exemplary lives as taxpayers, entrepreneurs, and are proud to call themselves Americans.

And yet, it is undeniable that a crisis on our southern border exists as a result of Joe Biden’s open border policy and rhetoric. Since Biden took office, apprehensions have skyrocketed. Customs and Border Protection has apprehended nearly 3 million illegal immigrants. In the last month of President Trump’s administration, apprehensions at our southern border numbered 36,585, the most recent number is 221,303. At the same time, deportations have plummeted, and hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who we know nothing about have escaped into the US.

This incredibly dangerous state of affairs is unsustainable, and I cannot stress enough – our top priority must be to get this crisis under control before we begin any meaningful reform of our broken immigration system.

Regarding specific reforms, I do not see any current proposals or legislation coming from Democratic leadership in Congress or Biden Administration I can support.

I support common-sense immigration reform that secures our southern border, reduces crime, combats human and drug trafficking, discourages illegal immigration, supports law enforcement at the border, and provides a realistic pathway for those seeking citizenship who arrived illegally while honoring aspiring citizens who respected our legal, if badly managed immigration process when entering the US.

In Congress I would consider legislative proposals that met my criteria. I would also add, until such policy exists that I can support, we must continue the enforcement of Title 42, which while insufficient to combat the surge in illegal immigration, has been shown to assist the brave men and women who serve on our border, and without which will only exacerbate an outrageously out of control humanitarian and legal crisis.

Do American cities have a crime problem?

Yes. But American cities are not alone in experiencing a rising tide in lawlessness. Suburbs and more rural areas are witnessing crime levels not seen in decades.

If so, what is your suggestion to solve it?

At a time when radical politicians are calling to defund the police, it’s important we support our law enforcement officers who protect our communities and ensure they have the resources they need to keep our communities safe.

As Kendall County Board Chairman, I pushed to increase funding for training and support of the Sheriff’s office and I support increasing department resources, especially essential officer training and technology. I encourage increased emphasis on focused deterrence, or community policing that targets specific community crime problems such as drug dealing, violent behavior, gang activity, or criminal gun violence.

By fixing what’s wrong and supporting what’s working, we can strengthen our communities. Providing increased resources to those who commit crime as a result of mental health conditions would help alleviate pressure on committed criminals. Strict enforcement of the law would also help, especially for those who begin their criminal career with minor legal infractions, then move incrementally up the scale to violent crime.

Should police officers have qualified immunity in cases involving alleged excessive force or other misconduct?

Qualified immunity – the protection of police from personal lawsuits unless they engage in behavior reasonably known to violate citizen rights – is essential for effective law enforcement.

By shielding good police officers from bankruptcy while subjecting bad actors to personal financial repercussions, qualified immunity allows the brave men and women who protect our communities daily from questioning their training, which in many cases, means life or death for not only themselves, but those they are charged to protect.

While it is vital to maintain the protection of law-abiding officers from malicious, financially crippling lawsuits that would hollow out departments and leave us less secure as we face the largest surge of violent crime in recent memory, it is also important to hold our police accountable and prosecute those who do not follow training and break the law in dereliction of their duty in order to maintain public confidence in the integrity of our laws.

Are there any limits to the Second Amendment?

American Founders created the mechanism in Article V of the United States Constitution.

Do you support any restrictions on gun purchases or other stricter gun control measures including citizens’ access to military style weaponry?

Rather than ratchet up pressure on law-abiding citizens to own firearms, I recommend proper and effective enforcement of current law. Instead of ever more gun control, we need crime control which enforces existing laws aimed at criminals who carry and use firearms to commit their crimes. When elected officials promote enforcement, police are better able to do their job, prosecutors are able to obtain meaningful convictions, and criminals receive justice.

Virginia’s “Project Exile” is an excellent example of such enforcement. Facing a sky-high homicide rate, Richmond, VA prosecutors began enforcing existing gun laws to the fullest, imposing lengthy sentences against criminals who carried firearms illegally. Their strict enforcement policy was impressively successful resulting in hundreds of illegal guns coming off the street.

Sadly, the rise of so-called “Progressive Prosecutors” such as Cook County State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx, who has proven unable or unwilling to effectively prosecute gun violence, kneecaps the men and women of law enforcement who bravely work to protect and serve us daily, compounding retention issues departments face as more honest, hard-working officers hang up their shields.

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