Davis hopes tax rates don't rise for anyone


U.S. Rep.-elect Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said Monday that while he still doesn’t want to see tax rates rise for anybody, he anticipates voting for the “best plan that’s put forth” to tame the national debt.

Davis, who defeated Democrat David Gill of Bloomington and independent John Hartman of Edwardsville in the Nov. 6 election for the U.S. House from the new 13th Congressional District, met with reporters at the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce headquarters to discuss his plans.

He noted that he is not among politicians who signed a no-tax pledge, saying it’s his policy not to sign any pledges because he thinks “that signature on a piece of paper allows Washington power brokers to kind of lord those pieces of paper over you on individual pieces of legislation,” including proposals that may not seem related to the pledge.

“My plan is to allow the job creators … to have the certainty they need to actually create the jobs that we all keep talking about needing,” Davis said. “To do that, I think we need to keep tax rates the way they are.” He said “loopholes” and other issues can be negotiable.

“I’m going to vote for the best plan that’s put forth, and as long as I see some principles in place that are going to keep our tax rates low so that we can grow jobs in the country and provide certainty to the business owners,” Davis said.

That plan should also reduce spending to cut into the $16 trillion national debt, he said.

“If those principles are reached in a grand bargain … that’s something that I would consider supporting,” he said. “I’ve seen how compromises … can positively affect the American people.”

He also said the top priority for Congress now should be to deal with the “fiscal cliff,” which would see tax increases and spending cuts go into effect with the new year unless an agreement is reached to avert those changes.

Davis has been to Washington, D.C., since the election to get part of his new-member orientation, and will be returning for another session. He is the only Republican among the six winners of targeted House races in Illinois, and said he regretted the amount of time orientation events separated members from different parties.

“The time we spent together, I cherished,” he said of the Democrats who just won election. “Those are the folks that I’m looking forward to working with as new members. …  I wish we had the chance to spend more time together, because I think that would foster more bipartisanship.” He said he hopes, as a new member, to push for change so after the 2014 election, “the freshman class might not be separated so much.”

Davis also said he would like to see Congress get a better handle on outside spending in races such as his own, where several million dollars was spent, mostly from groups not controlled by the campaigns.

He said he as well as the Democrats who won the other hotly contested Illinois seats “all had to withstand a barrage of false, misleading ads, and I think that has an impact on how we view things in the future.”

He said the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that basically opened the door to  unlimited spending by outside groups should be restricted by congressional action. Some people want to reverse that decision by constitutional amendment, but Davis does not think that’s a realistic path.

“We have to have more disclosure,” Davis said. “I’d be open to making sure that groups disclose where their funding comes from. That’s been my goal in campaign finance reform for years – transparency and disclosure, so that we know where the money’s coming from.”

He also said he would be open to limits on such spending “as long as we don’t infringe on free speech … and give one side or the other advantage here. What we have to do is make sure we come up with a good compromise.”

Davis said his race was the least costly of the six Illinois targeted districts, “and I even got sick of seeing all the TV commercials.”

He gets sworn in to his two-year term on Jan. 3.

Bernard Schoenburg can be reached at 788-1540. Follow him via twitter.com/bschoenburg.