Oregon Action Jobs Equity Agenda
Pass American Jobs Act to put 2 million Americans back to work.
Our current executive branch at the federal level sent to Congress a job-creation proposal that could create more than 2 million jobs by the end of 2013. It should be the first item on every congressperson’s priority list to pass the American Jobs Act and deliver real jobs to their districts. In addition, we can put those Americans to work revitalizing our communities, improving our public education and growing their small businesses. The bill would:
• Invest $50 billion to fix our roads, bridges, rails and airports;
• Invest $30 billion to modernize 35,000 public schools and community colleges;
• Invest $15 billion to put construction workers on the job rehabilitating and refurbishing hundreds of thousands of vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses across the country;
• Invest $10 billion to create a national infrastructure bank to support private and local investment in our roads, bridges, rails and other infrastructure;
• Save 280,000 teachers from layoffs and save firefighter and police jobs as well;
• Cut payroll taxes for small businesses and employers that are hiring locally; and,
• Provide incentives for businesses to hire veterans and the long-term unemployed.
Meet the debt-ceiling deal’s requirement to reduce the debt by raising revenues from millionaires and big corporations, not cutting programs that working families depend upon.
The right is pushing to meet the debt ceiling deal’s mandate to cut $1.5 trillion from the deficit through deep spending cuts and without any increases in revenue. Across-the-board cuts to programs like Medicare and education funding don’t just put vulnerable Americans at risk—they also kill jobs by taking money out of the economy. For example, the 2012 budget passed by House Republicans that would privatize Medicare, slash education funding, clean energy, and more would kill an estimated 2 million jobs over two years. Making millionaires and big corporations pay their fair share can provide us with plenty of revenue to both meet the debt-ceiling deal mandate of reducing the debt AND fund the long-term investment projects that will lay the groundwork for our future prosperity. For example, closing corporate tax loopholes such as overseas shelters, repealing the Bush tax cuts for millionaires, and creating new higher tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires could together raise more than $200 billion every year.
Close tax loopholes that encourage shipping jobs overseas.
Current tax law allows U.S. companies to deduct many of the costs of moving offshore and to indefinitely defer taxes on their overseas income. Closing these loopholes would remove incentives to shifting jobs offshore and generate $7-12 billion per year in additional revenue.
Put Americans back to work fixing our nation’s roads, bridges, rails, water and sewage systems.
A quiet crisis that accompanies rampant unemployment is the deterioration of the main arteries of commerce in our country. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave America’s infrastructure a “D” grade and estimated that $2.2 trillion are needed to fix it over five years. This not only poses safety risks but hampers our ability to compete internationally.
We can address both problems at once. President Obama, Senate Democrats and Republicans, AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce, all support a plan that would provide loans and loan guarantees for key projects. Seeding this program with $10 billion could spur $640 billion worth of investment in the next decade.
Invest in a clean energy economy.
We can create jobs and enhance our international competitiveness while promoting energy savings and reducing pollution. Concrete policies include: double America’s clean energy production by extending the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit; build a smart electric grid; promote energy-efficient building retrofits; work with business leaders to take clean energy technologies from the lab to the market.
Invest in education.
Investing in education protects jobs immediately by keeping teachers in the classroom. And, it lays the groundwork for the U.S. to remain competitive in the future. There are two major ways we can invest now in education.
First, thousands of public school facilities across America are dilapidated or falling apart. We have an estimated $270-500 billion maintenance backlog. Addressing 1/10 of the needed improvements could immediately create 500,000 new jobs.
Next, we need to invest in keeping teachers in the classroom. The Recovery Act saved more than 350,000 education-related jobs. But, in most places this funding is rapidly running dry. Without more investment, many public school systems will be forced to make massive layoffs during or after this coming school year.
Provide aid to struggling states.
One of the best ways to protect jobs is to prevent state and local governments from having to lay off teachers, cops, librarians and more.
Promote American manufacturing.
Manufacturing jobs used to be the backbone of our economy. But, for too long we’ve allowed these jobs to drift overseas. We need a comprehensive national strategy to increase domestic manufacturing in order to create well-paying jobs and retain our independence.
Oppose “balanced budget” requirements.
These shortsighted policies cripple governments’ abilities to act counter-cyclically and make long-term investments.