JIM DAVIS DEFICIT ROUNDTABLE - Mitch Perry

02/17/04

INTRO: Yesterday in Tampa, President Bush used local workers and business owners to boast about how his economic policies have helped certain sectors of the economy.

But amidst the optimism remains the fact that the expanding Federal Deficit is now projected by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to rise over $500 Billion dollars this year.

Today, Tampa Congressman Jim Davis held a Roundtable discussion on the issue with local business leaders, employers, and academics to discuss The deficit AND debt's impact on the Tampa Bay Community, and avenues to pursue more fiscally responsible budgets. He began the discussion by asking a question frequently asked - Are deficits that significant a problem?(roll tape#1 o.q.' of that discussion")

The one hour Forum took place at the CPA Firm of Valiente Hernandez in the Westshore district of Tampa...

Congressman Davis is now Co-Chairman of The New Democrat Coalition, which bills itself as a group of 74 centrist, pro-growth members of the House of Representatives working to find bipartisan solutions to some of the nation's problems...

Although he said it was more important to discuss how to get out of a deficit, Davis recited the reasons for the size of it right now, and what the cost of the debt does to the entire economy (roll tape#2o.q."When you're going to arrive).

Robert Anderson is the Dean of the College of Business Administration at USF. He said he was most concerned about the lack of job growth in the economy (roll tape#3 o.q. "

In the country")

Anderson said that the problem with the loss of off-shore jobs will affect the tax base

(roll tape#4 o.q."70%")

Ronald Hill is the Dean of the College of Business at the USF-St. Pete Campus.

He said that the middle Class is being squeezed out of the Economy.

He calls it moving away from the Knowledge Economy to the Knowledge Management Economy (roll tape#5 o.q. "some time to come")

Joseph McCann, Dean at the Sykes College of Business at the University of Tampa, said he believes Florida needs to become more creative to keep educated young people in the state, and the state of Michigan as a positive example (roll tape#6 o.q."

The deficit has grown because of tax cuts and spending aimed at boosting growth, big outlays on national security -including the Iraq invasion - and a fall in tax revenues caused by the economic slowdown that is now ending.

Not discussed as much as the Federal Deficit is the Federal Debt - which was about $7 million dollars last month, which works out to about $24,000 for every man , woman and child in the country.

In an op-ed written in the New York Times earlier this month, David Walker, the Comptroller General of the United States, wrote elected Representatives are NOT likely to get too far out in front of the American people in trying to tackle the issue.

. Katie Pemble is the Market President for Bank of America in Pinellas County. She, says there is nothing wrong with debt for business per se, but what she does fear is that there doesn't appear to be any recognition in Washington to the far reaching effects of a burgeoning deficit (roll tape# o.q."is not")

OUTRO:The business leaders also spoke about their fear of increasing Credit Card debt, with higher and higher interest rates, would also soon have a devastating effects on many Americans are relying on credit to pay for basic necessities like health care and education.

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