Sunday, April 04, 2010

MN-02: Kline Needs to Support Local Jobs for America Act

Congress was able to take a much needed breather after the passage of the H.R.4872 Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 to spend some time in their districts talking with their constituents.

No doubt they heard that legislation will help America’s families in the future, but Minnesotans are still concerned about today’s job market.
There was some good news on Friday, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 162,000 jobs were created in March, the largest monthly job gain in three years and that sets the vector in the right direction. A vast improvement from when 700,000 jobs a month were being trimmed and the Recovery Act deserves credit for increased economic activity as it continues to restore confidence in families and businesses.
Minnesota’s own State Economist Tom Stinson noted that economic signs now are far better than those seen last summer and credits the Federal stimulus as a spending tool that has had a big impact on turning the economy around. He further stated that “without federal action we’d be losing jobs big time. The recession would have been extended for a year, at least.
Even Governor Tim Pawlenty’s commissioner of the Office of Budget and Management, Tom Hanson, agrees that the federal stimulus money has had a positive impact on putting signs of life back into Minnesota’s economy.

Good signs .. but Minnesota, as well as other states, are facing a severe budget problem. The Minnesota legislature has agreed to a $35 million dollar reduction in the budget for public safety … and $111 million net reduction in FY 2010-11 aid to local governments (with a $186 million reduction in FY 2012-13). Meanwhile, the University of Minnesota might solve its budget shortfall by cutting the pay of its 18,000 employees and St. Cloud State University says state budget cuts are forcing the school to close more than 10 percent of its programs. Local school boards are looking at layoffs and increased class sizes due to funding constraints.

This is troubling.

John Kline (R-MN-02) is the Ranking Minority Member of the House Education and Labor Committee which could do something to address this.

The Committee’s Chairman, George Miller (D-CA) reacted to the employment numbers, “we are not out of the woods yet. All across the country, local communities are announcing layoffs of thousands of teachers, public safety officers and other vital personnel because of tight budgets. These layoffs threaten to reverse today’s positive economic report and stall the real progress we are making. House Democrats and a bipartisan group of mayors introduced legislation to create one million public and private sector jobs to help restore vital services that families and local communities rely on.”

Representative Miller gets it … Representative Miller has authored legislation that could help Minnesota as it slowly recovers.

H.R. 4812, the Local Jobs for America Act – developed with mayors, county officials and others such as National League of Cities (NLC) President Ron Loveridge, Mayor, Riverside, California - would, for the first time in decades, provide municipalities and counties with flexible and direct fiscal assistance focused on saving and creating jobs.
Although just introduced, the bill already has 105 co-sponsors.

It has some very good components that will help Local communities.
The Local Jobs for America Act will fund salaries for 50,000 on-the-job private-sector training positions to help local businesses put people back to work; $500 million to retain, rehire, and hire firefighters; $1.18 billion to put 5,500 law enforcement officers on the beat; and more.
The short term result is that by increasing employment in local communities, families will be able to start spending again at their neighborhood businesses and favorite restaurants. This will help spur additional jobs for local small businesses.
The long term results will be seen from the $23 billion funding to help states support 250,000 education jobs.
Cuts to America’s educational system – be it K-12 or advanced programs – will only prolong the country’s problems. The “old economy” has seen its jobs move overseas … it’s the next generation jobs will come from creative, high-I.Q. risk-takers that will raise capital for their ideas and commercialize them. America needs education and training to grow innovative new companies and as President Obama has said “the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation.
Further, in President Obama’s State of the Union address, he said “In the 21st century, one of the best anti-poverty programs is a world-class education.” This is not a Democrat idea … it is the same goal that George H. W. Bush and others have exposed … an America where the schools help “to make America No. 1 in math and science.
The equation is simple: investments in Jobs and Education produce prosperous communities.

It’s time to put the partisan bickering aside !
Mr. Kline, please become a co-sponsor of this legislation … or if you have a better idea, offer your own that will help Minnesota and the nation.
This is your committee … this is your job !
Small business and local business needs your support !

1 comment:

Holly Cairns said...

I agree, we're not out of the woods, yet.

I wonder what kind of city jobs we're envisioning.

And let's ask this: What's the difference between a job at the new Vikings' stadium, or a job building infrastructure someplace else?