Brooks addresses tax reform, opioid crisis during Zionsville event


By Mark Ambrogi

U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks is convinced tax reform and eliminating more regulations on businesses are the keys to growing jobs.

“This administration has been incredibly focused on rolling back regulations and finding those regulations that are harming business growth,” Brooks said. “We’re not going to roll back regulations that have to do with safety.  But I know the level of compliance they are required to comply with is incredibly high.”

Brooks, a Republican representing Indiana’s fifth district, addressed a wide variety of issues,  including tax reform and the opioid crisis, at a Westfield and Zionsville chamber of commerce luncheon Aug. 17 at the Indianapolis Executive Airport in Zionsville.

“We hope to get a tax reform proposal through the process this year,” Brooks said.  “I will tell you the Ways and Means (committee) has been working on it for months, and, in fact, years. I think they are going to be working on a bill when we get back to lower rates.”

Brooks said the goal is to make it so simple 95 percent of Americans can file taxes on a postcard.

“Would that not be spectacular, if we could make that happen?” Brooks said. “We’re trying to keep things like charitable deductions, mortgage deductions, child care deductions, but keeping very few things.”

Brooks said she hasn’t seen the tax reform proposal because she is not on that committee.

“But it’s all about pro-growth, it’s all about jobs creation,” Brooks said. “It’s all about how we make our economy more competitive.”

On another topic, Brooks said Indiana, sadly, has one of the worst problems with opioids.

“I’d say Indiana, West Virginia and Ohio seem to be the epicenter in many ways of the heroin and opium crisis,” Brooks said.

Brooks noted Congress passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act last year.

“The money goes for additional treatment and additional law enforcement,” she said. “It goes for additional education in our schools. We have to do all of those things. We have to teach young people about the dangers of getting hooked on opioids and of pain medications.”

Brooks said Grant County did a good job taking the illegal pain medications away, but now it is seeing a massive increase in heroin because it’s readily available and cheap.

Brooks said health care providers acknowledge they were part of the problem, because for decades there was no training on pain management.

“Now, there is a lot more education going on about pain management and about opioids,” Brooks said. “Now, providers are coming to the table and are part of the solution.”

Brooks said no one wants to remove pain medications from people with cancer or those who have had surgeries.

“But we have to change the way they are prescribed and used and find alternative methods,” Brooks said.

Brooks said she is pleased President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a national emergency.

“This is not something we can say, that’s their problem. It’s all of our problems when we have this many people dying and this many impacted by heroin,” she said.