Jobs bill may get workers back to work
President Obama has signed new legislation intended to create jobs by providing tax breaks for businesses and funding for infrastructure programs. The $17.6 billion package is a slimmed down version of the $85 billion bipartisan proposal drafted last month by the Senate Finance Committee. Plenty of unemployed workers across the nation are hoping the bill will get them back to work and eventually bring some debt relief.
Highlights of the jobs bill
The new legislation will:
- Provide employers with Social Security payroll-tax exemptions for new hires who were unemployed for at least 60 days
- Provide employers with tax credits for new employees who are retained for at least one year
- Provide tax breaks for businesses that make equipment purchases and other capital expenditures
- Fund highway and transit programs through 2010
- Expand the Build America Bonds program, which helps fund state and municipal construction projects
What job-bill critics say
With job losses continuing to mount and the unemployment rate still hovering at 9.7 percent, many lawmakers, economists and business leaders consider the bill to be small and ineffective. Some contend that the credit will prompt the hiring of about 300,000 workers, but others say companies won’t hire regardless of tax incentives unless the demand for products and services increases.
What the president says
According to CNN Money, the new bill may soon be reinforced with further job measures. Obama said the new law “is the first of what (he) hopes will be a series of jobs packages that help to continue to put people back to work all across America.”
Additional employment measures
House members are currently formulating several more jobs bills, and Senate Democratic leaders are focusing on employment initiatives for small businesses. The House recently passed a bill that would extend the deadline to apply for extended unemployment benefits by one month, through May 5, and is considering a $140 billion bill that would extend the deadline until the end of 2010. Hopefully, lots of unemployed people will be back to work by then and doing so well they’ll have money to lend.