Bennet pushes plan for rural economy

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., called for a more predictable immigration system, loan extensions, tax credits and better broadband to improve the economy of rural Colorado.

Bennet’s plan to “jump-start rural economies” was panned, though, by a spokesman for his opponent, Republican Ken Buck, who said Bennet had a knack for describing the problem but not offering solutions.

Bennet called for streamlining the H2A program for greater reliability for law-abiding employers and employees.

“There’s no predictability when it comes to enforcement of immigration laws,” Bennet said. “Just like any business person, folks want predictability.”

Bennet also called for extending the terms of loans for farmers and ranchers in the Guaranteed Operating Loan Program, offering tax credits for investments in small rural businesses and increasing the exemption limit from the estate tax to $5 million for single filers and $10 million for couples.

Other parts of Bennet’s proposal call for establishment of a new federal program to provide low-interest loans to as many as 1.6 million rural households and small businesses to make energy-efficiency improvements, and the expansion of broadband rural areas.

“Did he say how he was going to pay for it?” Buck spokesman Owen Loftus said.

Bennet’s positions on health-care legislation, renewable-energy standards and cap-and-trade policies have placed him on the wrong side of the rural economy since he’s been in office, Loftus said.


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