Friday, February 19, 2010

Trumka: Creating Jobs Is Best Way to Fix Deficit

AFL-CIO NOW BLOG | Trumka: Creating Jobs Is Best Way to Fix Deficit

The best way to reduce the growing federal deficit is to create 10 million jobs now—the number of jobs needed to close our jobs deficit—not to cut vital programs such as Social Security and Medicare, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said.

"The best way to fix the deficit is to create 10 million jobs now -- the number of jobs needed to close our jobs deficit. This will require large amounts of public investment in the short term, which should be paid for in future years by taxing Wall Street. In addition to creating jobs for Main Street this tax will also curb short-term speculation and other Wall Street abuses that caused this recession. "

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Unemployment Benefits set to expire, if Senate doesn't act

Alert from: Coalition for Human Needs

Call-in Day to Save Jobs and Protect the Jobless:
Tuesday, February 23

At the end of this month, the federal program providing unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed will EXPIRE. Why hasn't the extension passed? The Senate got snarled up in deals to pass tax breaks for businesses and multimillionaires and paralyzed itself. If they do not take quick action, nearly 1.2 million jobless people will not get unemployment benefits in March alone; by June, about 5 million people will lose out if Congress does not act.

This is just an outrage. But the Senate may just continue to dither about tax breaks if they do not hear loud and clear that unemployed people need help. Ironically, the extra money in people's pockets from UI does more than most business tax breaks to create jobs. In fact, up to 800,000 jobs nationwide could be lost if the unemployment benefits are not extended through the end of this year.

Another urgent matter is the impending loss of federal aid to states to help pay for Medicaid, education, and other vital services. The Senate hasn't acted on that either, although states are now at work on their own budgets and will cut much more deeply without the federal aid.

So - there is an urgent need for you to call. And for you to forward this request to everyone you know. There are two easy ways to call:

You can click here for a message from Jobs for America Now and a really nifty link that connects you right to your Senators' offices:

Or use this toll-free number to be connected to the Capitol Switchboard; just ask for your Senators' offices:

Tell them: Act NOW to pass a full-year extension of unemployment benefits and COBRA health and more aid to states for Medicaid, education, and other vital services and jobs.

We know you have a lot to do. But when jobless benefits are about to expire, being silent is not a good choice. 5 million people are counting on us. Please make sure the Senate knows the nation is watching. Thanks!

*Thanks to AFSCME for making the toll-free number available.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

States struggle to deploy TANF job creation dollars

Where are stimulus funds for jobs? | Philadelphia Inquirer | 02/14/2010:

"...Federal stimulus dollars funneled through the state of Tennessee went into a job-creation program that provided 10 previously unemployed workers to Armstrong Pie and underwrote their salaries.

This same money, which totals $5 billion nationally through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grants, is available to all the states. TANF money usually funds welfare programs.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey are sitting on hundreds of millions of federal stimulus dollars that could be used to create jobs - $330 million in Pennsylvania and $195 million in New Jersey. Only Delaware, locally, has already created a similar program."

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Is Obama Doing Enough To Create Jobs?

cross-posted from Huffington Post

Is Obama Doing Enough To Create Jobs?:
Shahien Nasiripour, Huffington Post

Even as one in 10 Americans remain unable to find work and President Obama has established job creation as his 'number one focus' this year, the legislative proposals being seriously discussed in Washington don't even come close to addressing the problem, according to some leading economists.

Among the White House's proposals is a payroll tax holiday to incentivize firms to hire more workers. Two competing ideas, one from Senators Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and another from Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), propose similar plans but with small differences in detail. The latter is expected to be introduced in legislation the week after next by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

But the consensus among many economists is that what's really needed are public works projects and major investments in infrastructure and education to create long-term, sustainable jobs.

Economists, including
James K. Galbraith, Dean Baker, Joseph Stiglitz and Robert Reich, say the short-term moves being considered on Capitol Hill -- such as marginal tax credits and funds to boost lending to small businesses -- are likely to fizzle out. They're good ideas but they just don't go far enough to reverse the loss of more than 8 million jobs over the last two years.

Galbraith wants a government-created financing network that will lend money to businesses and industries which align with long-term U.S policy initiatives, like energy consumption and renewal. Extending unemployment benefits is also a good idea, Galbraith said, but it's a relief measure, not a job-creation one.

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Corporate Tax Breaks Removed From Senate Jobs Bill

Here's a good analysis of the "tax extenders" component that Sen Reid removed from the Senate jobs bill.

cross-posted from Huffington Post

The K Street Kickback: The Giveaway That Reid Stripped From The Jobs Bill:

"The GOP is outraged that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) spiked the bipartisan jobs bill unveiled on Thursday, dropping some of its major provisions. But what exactly was cut from the bill that made them so angry -- was it the loss of the COBRA subsidies or the unemployment extension?

No, it was the K Street Kickback, which extends huge tax credits to large corporations. Unlike the Louisiana Purchase or the Cornhusker Kickback, which won the support of Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) for the health care reform bill, the K Street payoff is counted in the tens of billions of dollars, rather than a few hundred million. While Democratic senators come cheap, getting Republicans to buy into a jobs bill seems to cost taxpayers serious money.

One of the top priorities of Big Business lobbyists is the 'tax extender' issue, the extension of expiring tax credits worth tens of billions of dollars to major corporations, which is favored by Republicans..."

"To Chuck Marr, director of federal tax policy at the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, tax extenders don't belong in the jobs bill."

"They have nothing to do with the jobs bill, nothing to do with unemployment," said Marr, a former adviser to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. "These shouldn't distract from the task at hand, and the task at hand is that one in ten people are unemployed..."

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Plant closure highlights challenges in preserving manufacturing jobs

Planned closure of Hugo Boss plant in Brooklyn, Ohio raises questions of fairness | Business -

"...Wanda Navarro's $13-an-hour job at the Hugo Boss plant in Brooklyn was the best she ever had. So when the owners talked about shuttering the factory, she had to do something.
The woman who describes herself as more of a wallflower became a leader in the union's effort to keep the suit-making plant from closing."

"Navarro marched in protest in front of the plant with fellow workers. With wind chills in single digits, she demonstrated at Beachwood Place, where Nordstrom sells high-end Hugo Boss suits. She and other union members even handed out leaflets at the Davis Cup tennis finals in Barcelona, which the German company co-sponsored."

"The drive by Workers United, which represents 311 of the roughly 375 employees at the plant, is both determined and doubtful. It seems unlikely that Hugo Boss will reverse its decision, but the effort itself draws attention to two longstanding employment issues:

Is it greed or responsible management when a company moves a profitable business abroad to make yet more money?
And should the United States try to preserve unskilled
manufacturing jobs, or do they have little place in a restructuring American economy?"

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"Together We Care Act" introduced by Rep. Nydia Velazaquez

This innovative bill (HR 4224) meets community needs for home care services for aging residents by targeting jobs to unemployed workers. In New York City, the proposal is supported by AARP and SEIU. Congratulations to Rep. Velazquez for her leadership in developing the bill..

Putting New Yorkers Back to Work

Velázquez introduces bill to increase job opportunities for public housing residents

NEW YORK – Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) today unveiled legislation to provide New York City’s public housing residents with the training and certification needed to secure new jobs. As the City’s unemployment rate remains above 10 percent, the Congresswoman is helping New Yorkers find work in home healthcare services. During a visit to the Bushwick Senior Center, she discussed how her bill would create 6,000 jobs in New York City alone, while simultaneously increasing assistance for thousands of senior and disabled tenants.

“This effort meets the needs of our community by helping to lift public housing residents out of poverty and providing care for those who need it most. We need to find creative, new ways to help New Yorkers get back to work, and this bill does just that,” said Congresswoman Velázquez.

The “Together We Care Act of 2009” establishes a three-year federal pilot training program specializing in home healthcare services. Public housing residents will be given the opportunity to receive home health services training from organizations certified by the state. Following certification, the newly trained aides would be matched with elderly or disabled individuals who are Medicaid-eligible. The legislation would provide the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with $2.5 billion per year to support the effort.

Read rest of news release

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Job Creation Impacts of Highways vs. Mass Transit

Cross-posted from

To Create Jobs, Build Public Transit, Not Highways | Autopia |

If we’d spent as much federal stimulus money on public transportation as we spent on highways, we would have created twice as much work and put a bigger dent in the unemployment rate.

That’s the analysis of stimulus spending by Smart Growth America, the Center for Neighborhood Technology and U.S. PIRG, the public-policy lobbying group. Smart Growth America found that every billion dollars spent on public transportation produced 16,419 job-months, while the same amount spent on highway infrastructure projects produced 8,781 job-months. Now it is warning that the Jobs for Main Street Act of 2010 (.pdf), the $154 billion jobs bill the House of Representatives passed last month, could make the same mistake in funding the wrong priorities.

The legislation, which the Senate is expected to take up early this year, would finance everything from renovating schools to putting more cops on the street. It is funded in part with money set aside for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, also known as the Wall Street bailout. The bill allocates $27.1 billion for highways and other surface transportation and just $8.4 billion for public transportation.

That’s a mistake.

“When the Senate takes the bill up and it goes back to the House, they ought to take a look at their own data and readjust the proportions,” William Schroeer, state policy director for Smart Growth America, told “Since it’s a jobs bill, that seems to us to be something they ought to think very seriously about.”

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Show Us the Jobs!

Some states are doing a better job that others in giving information to the public about the numbers and types of jobs created through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), according to a new report by Good Jobs First. Check out how your state is doing.

Report: States Are Making More Effective Use of Web to Inform Taxpayers About Economic Stimulus Spending

Washington, January 26, 2010—Some states are making dramatic improvements in websites designed to disseminate information about their share of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), but others are still failing to make effective use of online technology to educate taxpayers about the impact of economic stimulus spending.

This is the finding of Show Us the Stimulus (Again), a report released today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit research center based in Washington, DC. It updates a similar study published by Good Jobs First last July.

The full text of the report as well as state-specific appendices can be found on the Good Jobs First website at

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Provisions of House Jobs Bill Passed in December

Here's a summary of HR 2847, the Jobs for Main Street Act of 2010, passed by the US House of Representatives on December 16.

The Senate is about to take up its own version of a jobs bill, which presumably could be conferenced with the House bill. However, progressives should be very worried, that without extraordinary grassroots pressure, the Senate approach will turn out to be much weaker in many areas, especially in terms of direct job creation to meet unmet needs for infrastructure, housing, education and the environment.

On December 16th, the House passed the Jobs for Main Street Act to create or save jobs here at home with targeted investments ($75 billion) for highways and transit, school renovation, hiring teachers, police, and firefighters, small business, job training and affordable housing – key drivers of economic growth that have the most bang for the buck. These investments are fully paid for by redirecting TARP funds from Wall Street to Main Street.

Read the bill»


The bill redirects $48.3 billion from Wall Street to help put people to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing public buildings, and cleaning our air and water, including:

Highway Infrastructure: $27.5 billion to make additional highway infrastructure investments. These projects support jobs in the short term while saving commuters time and money in the long term.
Transit: $8.4 billion for public transportation investments including $6.15 billion for urban and rural formula grants; $500 million for capital investment grants for new or expanded fixed guideway projects; and $1.75 billion in formula funds to address repair needs of existing subway, light rail and commuter rail systems. Public transportation saves Americans time and money, saving as much as 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline and reducing carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons each year.
Amtrak: $800 million for capital grants to Amtrak for the acquisition and rehabilitation of rolling stock and passenger equipment to improve the speed and capacity of intercity passenger rail service. This investment will increase the fuel efficiency of Amtrak’s locomotives and support domestic production of passenger rail equipment.
Airport Improvement Grants: $500 million for airport improvement projects that will support putting people to work to improve safety and reduce congestion at our nation’s airports. An estimated $49.7 billion is needed between 2009 and 2013 to fully fund eligible airport infrastructure projects.
Maritime Administration: $100 million for the Maritime Guaranteed Loan (Title XI) program to allow vessel and shipyard owners to obtain long-term financing for growth and modernization projects.
Clean Water: $2 billion to help communities provide clean and safe water for both their citizens and the environment, including $1 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $1 billion for the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. This funding will assist more than 670 communities address the ever growing backlog of sewer and water repairs and rehabilitation. Half of the funds will include additional subsidies, such as principal forgiveness and grants, to make it easier for more communities to access the programs.
Bureau of Reclamation: $100 million to provide clean, reliable drinking water to rural areas and to ensure adequate water supply to areas impacted by drought.
Corps of Engineers: $715 million for environmental restoration, flood protection, hydropower, and navigation infrastructure projects by the Corps of Engineers. The Corps has a construction backlog of $61 billion.
Energy Innovation Loans: $2 billion for the Department of Energy Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program, to promote the rapid deployment of renewable energy and electric transmission projects.
School Renovation Grants: $4.1 billion to allow State, local, or tribal governments to receive a federal grant equal to the cost of tax credits that would otherwise be payable on bonds issued to finance school construction, rehabilitation or repair.
Housing Trust Fund: $1 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund to provide communities with funds to build, preserve, and rehabilitate rental homes that are affordable for extremely and very lowincome households; and $65 million for project-based vouchers to support units built by the Trust Fund. Nationwide, for every 100 extremely low-income renter households, there are only 37 homes they can afford. Additionally, capital expenditures for housing will support jobs in the construction industry.
Public Housing Capital Fund: $1 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund for additional repairs and rehabilitation of public housing. Every dollar of Capital Fund expenditures produces $2.12 in economic return. In fiscal year 2009, HUD received applications totaling $3.7 billion for Capital Fund projects, but was only able to fund $1 billion in awards. This funding will spur construction quickly, as HUD has ready-to-go applications for projects on hand.


The bill redirects $26.7 billion from Wall Street to stabilize public service jobs such as teachers, firefighters, and police officers, including:

Education Jobs Fund: $23 billion for an Education Jobs Fund to help States support an estimated 250,000 education jobs over the next two years. 95% of the funds will be allocated by States to school districts and public institutions of higher education to retain or create jobs to provide educational services and to modernize, renovate, and repair public education facilities. The remaining 5% of funds is reserved for State education-related jobs and administration of the Education Jobs Fund.
Law Enforcement Jobs: $1.18 billion to support putting over 5,500 law enforcement officers on the beat throughout the United States.
Firefighter Jobs: $500 million to retain, rehire, and hire firefighters across the United States. According to the International Association of Firefighters, nearly 6,000 firefighters have been laid off or are subject to layoffs. An additional 6,000 positions have been lost through attrition. Any unused funds may be transferred to firefighter assistance equipment grants.
AmeriCorps: $200 million for AmeriCorps programs and the National Service Trust, to support an additional 25,000 AmeriCorps Members. This funding will enable those individuals to serve their communities while earning an education award to further their education or pay off student loans. AmeriCorps members conduct vital services for nonprofits and communities including financial counseling, disaster response, housing support, and after school programs. Between November 2008 and April 2009, AmeriCorps received 76,404 online applications, up 230% compared to the same period in the year before.
Summer Youth Employment: $500 million for a summer employment program for youth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate for teenagers (age 16 to 19) reached 26.7% in November 2009 – the highest level recorded since BLS began collecting data. These funds will support summer youth employment for approximately 250,000 disadvantaged youth.
College Work Study: $300 million to support the College Work Study program, which supports lowand moderate-income undergraduate and graduate students who work while attending college. Together with institutional matching funds, this appropriation will help approximately 250,000 students stay in school.
Parks and Forestry Workers: $270 million to support putting people to work improving and protecting federal, state, and local public lands. These funds will support approximately 14,000 shortterm jobs, improving service to visitors, reducing the large backlog in facilities and habitat restoration needs, and reducing hazardous fuels that lead to damaging and expensive wildfires.
Job Training for High Growth Fields: $750 million for competitive grants to support job training for approximately 150,000 individuals in high growth and emerging industry sectors, particularly in the health care and green industries that are adding jobs despite difficult economic conditions. Grants for job training in green industries will focus on programs that train workers living in areas of high poverty.


High unemployment and rising costs have outpaced Americans’ paychecks. The bill continues emergency help to working families to make ends meet at a cost of $79 billion, including:

Unemployment Insurance: $41 billion to extend, for six months, expanded unemployment benefits, including increased payouts and longer duration of benefits.
Help with Health Insurance for Unemployed Workers (COBRA): $12.3 billion to extend from nine to 15 months the 65% COBRA health insurance subsidy for individuals who have lost their jobs. The job lost eligibility date is extended in the provision to June 30, 2010. Approximately seven million people benefited from the premium subsidy provided in the Recovery Act.
Small Business Loans: $354 million, fully offset, to allow the Small Business Administration (SBA) to continue two temporary loan guarantee authorities through the end of fiscal year 2010 to make loans more attractive to borrowers and lenders and to free up capital. Small businesses represent a major engine for the U.S. economy, but many small business owners have had a difficult time securing needed loans in these tight economic times.
FMAP Extension: $23.5 billion to extend the higher federal match for payments to doctors providing services to low-income families under Medicaid through June 2010. The higher federal match provides an incentive for states to commit resources to their Medicaid programs and helps ensure services for Medicaid beneficiaries.
Child Care Tax Credit: $2.3 billion to increase eligibility for the refundable portion of the child tax credit by removing the $3,000 floor for 2010. That will cut taxes for 16 million families, by making the Child Tax Credit available to all low-income working families with children in 2010.
Assistance Eligibility: $305 million to freeze Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guidelines at 2009 levels in order to prevent a reduction in eligibility for certain means-tested programs, including Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and child nutrition.
Income Tax Refund Disregard: Provides that individuals may exclude counting tax refunds as income for the purpose of assessing eligibility for means-tested programs supported by Federal funds for one year.
Social Security Legal Assistance: The bill permanently authorizes a provision to help Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability claimants retain legal representation. The provision limits attorney fees to 25% of the claimant’s past-due benefits, only paid if the claimant wins and subject to a $6,000 cap.


Surface Transportation Authorization Extension: Extends the authorization for the highway, transit, highway safety and motor carrier safety programs of the Department of Transportation until September 30, 2010. In addition, the bill includes language that provides 100% federal share for the transportation programs authorized in the title, repeals the provision that prohibits Highway Trust Fund balances fromearning interest, and restores $20 billion to the Highway Trust Fund.

USDA Civil Rights Claims: Corrects an administrative injustice by extending the statute of limitations for claims of discrimination in USDA’s credit programs that have been pending for years at USDA, and provides funding for remedies which is fully offset.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Franken Introduces “Cash For Jobs” Bill

Franken Introduces “Cash For Jobs” Bill - Office of Sen. Al Franken
Legislation Uses Existing TARP Funds To Put Around 15,000 Minnesotans To Work

Washington, D.C. [Jan 26, 2010] – Today, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced his plan to put around 15,000 Minnesotans back to work. The “Strengthening Our Economy Through Employment and Development (SEED) Act,” informally known as “Cash for Jobs,” would take $10 billion in existing funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and re-allocate it to creating jobs in the private and public sectors. This means the initiative would create jobs without adding to the national debt or deficit.

Sen. Franken’s ‘Cash for Jobs’ plan is based on a successful 1983-1987 Minnesota program, the Minnesota Emergency Employment Development program, that got 7,400 workers back on the job in its first six months. Franken’s bill provides $5 billion for wage subsidies to incentivize hiring in the private sector. The additional $5 billion will provide direct grants to states, local governments, and tribes to create green jobs.

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HR 4268 - Put America Back to Work Act

Local officials back jobs program
Augusta Free Press
January 24, 2010

"As U.S. mayors gathered in Washington this week to meet with the Obama administration about unemployment and the economy, Virginia local government officials and community leaders are calling for the creation of a Community Jobs program."

"The jobs program would provide funding to localities across the country to create 1 million temporary public and private sector jobs. Congressman Keith Ellison from Minnesota has introduced HR 4268, The Put America to Work Act of 2009, in the U.S. House of Representatives to authorize a Community Jobs Program. The bill has 52 co-sponsors. Community groups and local government officials are working with partners around the country to organize in support of this bill, and to ensure that it becomes law..."

Read rest of article

From Rep. Keith Ellison's web site:

Ellison Introduces Public Jobs Bill - The Put America to Work Act of 2009 Creates 1 Million Jobs

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 10, 2009) – Last night, U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) introduced the Put America to Work Act of 2009. This legislation (H.R. 4268) appropriates $40 billion to local governments to create jobs in the public or non-profit sector and potentially in small businesses that provide public services. This investment will create approximately 1 million jobs across the nation. Ellison’s legislation has already garnered the support of 49 other Members of Congress. The Put America to Work Act directs federal grants to local governments to create employment opportunities across a broad array of critical infrastructure and revitalization projects such as those that would: paint and repair schools; clean up abandoned and vacant properties to alleviate blight in distressed and foreclosure-impacted neighborhoods; expand emergency food programs to reduce hunger and promote family stability.

“In the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression we have an opportunity to create good, high paying jobs for millions of Americans,” said Representative Ellison, “Now is the time to act.”

This new jobs program would be run by local elected officials who are closest to our communities and best understand their needs. They would collaborate with community organizations, labor and other community leaders to identify the projects that would be most beneficial. During the first six months, the Put America to Work Act will direct that local units of government develop FAST TRACK jobs to allow for quick implementation and scale. All jobs would be subject to strict non-displacement requirements, and no individual could be employed by any employer where there is a collective bargaining agreement in effect covering the same or similar work, except with concurrence of the union.

“In every crisis there is an opportunity. Now is the time to reinvest in our nation’s distressed communities and to create jobs for those who need them. Good jobs reduce economic insecurity, stimulate the economy, and help unemployed workers build new skills for the future,” Ellison concluded.

See also:

HR 4268 - Put America to Work Act (PDF)

List of Consponsors for HR 4268 (59, as of 2/5/10)

Community Jobs: Putting People Back to Work to Revitalize Our Communities (PDF) - Center for Community Change / Jobs For America Now

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

1/28 Briefing on Federal Jobs Legislation

Jobs: A Webinar on What the Federal Government Must Do
January 28, 2010
Coalition for Human Needs

Presentations by:

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