U.S. Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C., didn’t don kid gloves when addressing a cross section of Haywood County business leaders representing agriculture, tourism, banking, construction and professional sectors last week.
“Here’s the hard, cold reality. We’ve got to cut an additional 6 trillion in spending. That’s to get on a glide path so that 30 years out we can balance our budget,” Burr told about two-dozen businessmen at a private lunch at the Waynesville Inn.
The magnitude of what must be cut is staggering, and the results won’t be pretty, Burr said.
But, Burr said this juncture provides a rare critical mass to reform the corporate and business tax structure, something he hopes to see passed by Congress in coming months.
“All the tax loopholes, all the credits, all the deductions — gone,” Burr said.
Bad news for big corporations, but great for small business owners like those in the room, Burr said.
Burr sympathized with those who have fruitlessly tried to borrow capital to expand their businesses in recent years.
“You almost walk away and say ‘Gee, they’d lend it to me if I had enough money to where I didn’t need it,” Burr said.
But don’t blame the local bankers, Burr said. They are merely acting on orders from the banking regulators harping on debt-to-capitalization ratios.
Meeting with Burr was a little like sitting down with an economic analyst. He talked about currency and trade, foreign investment, the still frozen credit market, lack of capital, sovereign debt, how a new tax code could effect business’ bottom line. Europe’s financial crisis perhaps topped the list.
“Dominoes will fall from what happens in Europe. Nobody is smart enough to know what they are going to hit,” Burr said.
Burr was quick to joke and banter with those at his table as they introduced themselves.
“I should have given the caveat that for any brokers in the house, don’t trade based on my predictions. I don’t even take my own trading advice,” Burr told Larry East, financial advisor with Wells Fargo.