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Bachmann at Sukup: ‘Grow, grow, grow’

By Joe Buttweiler

SHEFFIELD – Iowa and the United States of America need more manufacturing jobs, and cutting the corporate income tax will help grow them, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said at a visit to Sukup Manufacturing Co. on Monday.

Sukup’s threefold increase in its workforce in the past five years — there are more than 500 employees — is a testament not just to the strong agricultural economy, but to investment in new products and personnel, Bachmann said.

Flanked by reporters from Iowa and the East and West coasts, she toured Sukup’s sprawling manufacturing operations with members of the Sukup family and learned about its nearly 50-year history and newest line of products, metal buildings.

In addition to grain storage and handling equipment that includes bins, elevators, dryers and conveyors, the buildings will help the family-owned company continue to grow, she said.

Bachmann shared a story about a businessman elsewhere considering whether to put an expensive new piece of machinery in Canada instead of the U.S. because the corporate income taxes are so much lower there.

At 18 percent in Canada compared to 35 percent in the U.S., it’s tough to compete, she said. Bachmann said she’d push to cut the U.S. tax rate roughly in half.

Striking a chord near and dear to Sukup founder Eugene Sukup, Bachmann said the U.S. needs to make sure it doesn’t threaten the future of family-owned businesses by having a “death tax” that is so high that owners have to sell off major segments of their business or borrow heavily to survive upon the passing of founders.

Succeeding family members should be able to continue investing in their company instead of paying huge estate taxes to the government, she said.

Bachmann, who finished first in the Iowa Straw Poll of Republican presidential candidates last month, said the U.S. needs a major overhaul and simplification of its tax code.

And it needs to stop spending money at about twice the rate of its income, she said. Regular families can’t do it. Neither should the federal government, she said.

By cutting taxes and spending, more businesses in the U.S. will be able to hire and invest more in employees, Bachmann said.

Bachmann also criticized “Obamacare,” saying it must be repealed. It will cost more and provide less to employees like those at Sukup who have good health insurance coverage, she said.

Concluding her remarks, Bachmann likened Sukup’s growth to healthy crops, encouraging employees and the company to “grow, grow, grow.”

Charles Sukup, president and chief executive officer of Sukup Manufacturing, thanked Bachmann for visiting and said it’s a great privilege for Iowa to be able to host presidential hopefuls. The state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses make Iowans a screening committee, as it were, of presidential candidates.

Bachmann was invited to Sukup Manufacturing by Steve Sukup, vice president and chief financial officer of the company, who served in the Iowa Legislature from 1994-2002.

Bachmann was the second GOP hopeful to visit Sukup employees this summer. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was there in June.

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