Sunday, March 07, 2010

MN-02 : How Many Times Will Kline Say NO to Jobs ?

CSPAN viewers are waiting for the Freudian slip when someone introduces John Kline by stating : “I yield time to my good friend from Minnesota’s Second District, Mr. No.”

As far as jobs are concerned, John Kline is Mr. No.

Last Thursday, the House voted to agree to a Senate-approved $35 billion bill - blending $15 billion in tax cuts and subsidies for infrastructure bonds issued by local governments with the $20 billion in transportation money.
It’s a Jobs bill that met the approval of Republicans Lamar Alexander (TN), Kit Bond (MO), Scott Brown (MA), Richard Burr (NC), Thad Cochran (MS), Susan Collins (ME), Orin Hatch (UT), Jim Inhofe (OK), George LeMieux (FL), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Olympia Snowe (ME), and Roger Wicker (MS) but not Mr. No … err Mr. Kline.
Is it prefect bill ? No, but it’s a good compromise as the Democrats wanted a $50 billion dollar program. It continues a step in the recovery as the economy has shed 8.4 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007. Minnesota has lost over 140,000 jobs including more than 46,000 in the manufacturing sector.

The jobs bill contains two major provisions. First, it would exempt businesses hiring the unemployed from the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax through December and give them an additional $1,000 credit if new workers stay on the job a full year. The Social Security trust fund would be reimbursed for the lost revenue. Second, it would extend highway and mass-transit programs through the end of the year and pump in $20 billion for the spring construction season. Third, Small businesses would continue to be able to write off equipment purchases as a business expense.
John McCain’s economic advisor Mark Zandi said the new hiring tax credit could spur creation of about 250,000 new jobs.

Mr. Kline instead of stating why he opposed this bill issued a press release on Friday’s BLS Jobs Report . Kline states : “Washington has been absent when it comes to promoting policies that will spur strong and lasting private sector job creation.

Well, it isn’t that Washington has been absent, it is that Mr. Kline has been absent in pushing jobs programs for the Second District. This is not new … this has been going on for too long. For example, in 2007, Kline opposed the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act that advocated greater energy independence through green jobs that promoted clean renewable energy production. In 2008, Kline opposed extending tax incentives on solar, wind and other alternative energy installations even though Minnesota jobs would be directly impacted. There are companies in his district that could have benefited from Mr. Kline’s involvement. And of course, Mr, Kline opposed the Obama stimulus program … even though it featured tax cuts.

Despite Mr. Kline’s insistence that nothing is happening, it is … the BLS report indicates that “In February, temporary help services added 48,000 jobs. Since reaching a low point in September 2009, temporary help services employment has risen by 284,000. Permanent jobs may not be created until the workweek hours improve … and that is also slowly ticking upward from 33.0 in September to 33.8 in February. Once temporaries are switched to permanent and a forty hour workweek is in place, then new jobs will be created.

That makes the job very difficult for political leaders.
Mr. Kline has taken the road of saying NO to jobs bills and then complaining that jobs are not there.
While others are getting involved … pushing … and making it easier for businesses to expand, Kline complains that Washington isn’t working … forgetting that he is Washington.

Case in point. Senator Al Franken has spoken about the green jobs potential of SAGE Electrochromics located in Faribault (yep, Kline’s Second District.) Senator Franken understands that federal programs often provide the seed capital or gap financing that spark private investments which are extremely important in outlying areas of Mr. Kline’s district.

On the same day that Kline had his press release complaining of the lack of jobs, SAGE Electrochromics announced that it will increase its 100 workforce to 260 employees. This will occur with the assistance of loan guarantee through the U.S. Department of Energy in addition to state and local incentives and result in the construction of a $110 million manufacturing facility. In addition, it is anticipating that more than 200 people will work on the construction project.

Recently, Senator Franken introduced S. 2952 The Strengthening Our Economy Through Employment and Development (SEED) which seeks to reallocate $10 Billion in TARP Funds to job creation in public and private sectors. [NOTE : Mr. Kline voted FOR the TARP legislation.] SEED is modeled after a previous successful jobs program – MEED (Minnesota Emergency Employment Development). The benefit comes in targeting particular groups of the unemployed through the workforce training. Local Workforce Investment Act (WIA) One-Stop Career Centers can recruit employer interest in such programs, match employers with disadvantaged workers who are suitable, and provide supports to increase job retention with the end result in the creation of permanent jobs for the unemployed.
Senator Franken includes extra wage subsidies for employers that hire veterans who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. The SEED Act would create jobs to retrofit hundreds of public buildings, putting people back to work, increasing energy efficiency, and significantly reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

Senator Franken is saying YES to job creation … it’s time that Mr. Kline stop saying NO and endorse this legislation … and for once help the Second District.

Mr, Kline needs to do that now … as soon voters will be looking at the November elections and may noticed that Dan Powers is seeking the DFL endorsement. Dan Powers is a small business owner and as such understands that the Second District needs a Representative that will work for them and not be a mouthpiece for Washington Republicans.

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