Pressure needed to pass jobs bill

While the latest presidential jobs bill is going nowhere, if it were passed, it could have provided 18,000 jobs in Minnesota.

According to the White House estimates, the bill would have had enough funds to provide:
•7,900 jobs in highway construction at a cost of $608 million.
•6,900 in jobs for teachers and first responders at a cost of $504 million.
•3,600 jobs for rebuilding schools at a cost of $274 million.

Republicans in Congress from Minnesota all voted no on this job bills, because they have vowed to make President Barack Obama a one-term president.

They are trying to convince the public, with some success, that the first stimulus plan did not work, even though economists, conservative and liberal, agree it kept unemployment from going higher than it is and lessened the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation said it used the 2008 federal stimulus dollars to complete 200 projects, fixed many bridges and repaved hundreds of miles of highway. Highway 610 in the north metropolitan area would never have been completed without stimulus money, the spokesman said. The department has projects ready to bid, if more stimulus funds were available.

In Minnesota, 205,300 people are unemployed. That’s way too many, yet Minnesota’s unemployment rate is 6.9 percent compared to the national rate of 9.1 percent.

Particularly hard hit is the construction industry, where 50,000 workers have lost their jobs since 2006.

According to a spokesman from the Association of General Contractors in Minnesota, one study says $1 billion of federal stimulus will produce 28,500 jobs.

This latest jobs bill could have meant funds for 7,900 jobs in Minnesota, not enough but needed for the construction industry, the hardest hit in this recession. Some would say it’s in a depression.

The jobs bill also had other provisions for Minnesota by limiting itemized deductions for individuals making $200,000 a year and families earning over $350,000. It would tax interest earned by investment fund managers and eliminate certain exemptions for oil and gas companies. Republicans complain that the bill would permanently increase taxes for temporary fixes.

Those fixes, no matter how temporary, would affect Minnesotans.

Other key parts of the jobs bill would:
•Reduce the payroll tax by 50 percent to 31 percent for the first $5 million in wages once implemented in 2012.
•Create a payroll tax holiday for up to $50 million in increased wages from this year until the next.
•Include a tax credit for businesses that hire unemployed workers for six months by $4,000 and by $5,600 for veterans and $9,600 for veterans injured during the service.

Republican members of the United States Congress are able to stonewall this jobs bill obviously because they are not hearing complaints from people in their districts.

Where are the voices who have been helped and will be helped if the jobs bill passes? The Democratic process is stuck. — Don Heinzman, ECM Publishers

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