Candidates in the race for the 4th Congressional District agree the economy needs to be a priority but have different ideas about how to improve the nation's job climate.

The field of candidates includes a Democrat, an independent, a Libertarian and a Republican, with each bringing a different perspective to the table.

Libertarian: Mike Koffenberger, a Libertarian from Hopewell Township, said the government spends too much money and doesn't create jobs.

"It only creates government jobs," he said.

Koffenberger said taxes and regulations suppress small businesses, citing the example of a local mechanic shop he said struggles to "stay afloat" because of the taxes it pays.

He said the government needs to "get out of the way" and reduce regulations so businesses have the money to hire more people.

He couldn't cite specific regulations that he would cut but said he would tell businesses to contact him with suggestions if he's elected.

Democrat: York Township Democrat Harry Perkinson said economic history is a series of "boom and bust" periods and the closest comparison to recent history is post-World War II.

The United States rebounded after the war by rebuilding Germany and Japan and using its industrial base to do it. Investments in infrastructure are needed to help the U.S. rebound again, he said. The country also needs to invest in education to produce a new crop of capable workers.

Getting people employed and back into the economy will generate tax income and reduce the cost of the "safety nets" such as food stamps, he said.

Perkinson said the economy is 70 percent consumer-driven, but there needs to be investment in the middle class because people are dropping out of the middle class and into lower classes.

The country needs to "spend money to make money," he said. "Don't be afraid of the debt. The debt's not the problem, the economy is."

People who support "supply side" economics aren't accounting for the amount of money the rich spend off shore, he said. "They don't really invest in the United States," he said.

Republican: State Rep. Scott Perry, R-Dillsburg, said the government's role in job creation is to provide the right environment.

It should have the necessary tax policy, infrastructure and security for businesses to succeed, he said. One way in which he would improve business policies is to reduce the industry standards for environmental mitigation, he said.

"The United States is already one of the cleanest countries ... and industries seem to be penalized for doing well," he said.

He said government bailouts, giving money to certain businesses or industries is "gambling" with taxpayer money, and there should be a more even playing field.

Some large businesses pay little in taxes while "Mom and Pop" operations pay the lion's share, he said. Small businesses should be allowed to keep more of what they make so they can reinvest that money, he said.

Perry said Wall Street regulations have done too much in some areas and not enough in others.

Housing legislation has had unintended consequences, "where the scale was sent careening to the other side," he said. Banks previously had incentives to lend to people who couldn't afford their loans, but now qualified people can't get loans, he said.

Conversely, there hasn't been enough regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he said. If elected, he would talk to real estate professionals to determine what should be done to revise the law, he said.

Independent: North Hopewell Township's Wayne Wolff said it's "pretty obvious" that measures taken by the federal government over the past five years haven't helped, as the unemployment rate is still high and people are still struggling.

He said people are still unemployed and under-employed, and his wife and oldest daughter are among those who were laid off.

His solution is to stop "over-regulating" and provide only the most basic of regulations, finding middle ground between the scenes presented in Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" and the mountains of paperwork businesses must complete now.

He said he would reduce regulation by reducing the number of government agencies and programs, such as those overseen by the Small Business Administration.

"There are too many agencies that regulate the same industries," he said.

- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.