By John Toscano
Still on a roll following passage of the landmark healthcare reform bill, the House last week passed a bill that would create jobs by encouraging investment in small businesses and by helping to finance infrastructure improvements throughout the country.
Congressmembers Joseph Crowley and Carolyn Maloney were enthusiastic supporters of the legislation and predicted it would help stimulate jobs and work toward getting the economy back on track.
Crowley (D–Queens/The Bronx) declared: “From Westchester Square to Jackson Heights and across the nation, small businesses are the engines of economic growth in our economy—accounting for 80 percent of the new jobs created in America. The Democratic Congress knows that the best way to create new jobs and fuel economic growth is to enact policies that will strengthen and support our small businesses.”
Crowley added that the Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Act is a $16 billion small business package that will spur investment in local rebuilding projects and help small businesses grow, hire and continue fueling the economy.
Specifically, the bill cuts IRS penalties and paperwork for legitimate mistakes by small business owners, and provides new tax incentives so they can have the resources they need to make it easier to start a new business.
Among other provisions, the bill would exempt from capital gains tax investments made this year in small businesses, according to Congressmember Carolyn Maloney.
The lawmaker added that the bill would increase tax deductions for entrepreneurs who start small businesses would also extend through 2013 the Build America Bonds program which to date has helped finance more than $6.5 billion in infrastructure programs, Maloney said.
The bill also extends for one year an emergency fund that 35 states are using or are planning to use for a jobs program that subsidizes employers, including small businesses that hire unemployed workers.
Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan) pointed out that this emergency fund “is already on track to put 160,000 Americans back to work”.
Maloney, chair of the Joint Economic Committee, declared: “Job creation is our top priority in Congress and this bill will help fuel our recovery from the recession. This legislation provides much-needed tax relief for those who start or invest in small businesses, which are a critical source of new jobs, and strengthens the Build America Bonds program, which has financed more than $6.5 billion in infrastructure projects right here in New York.”
Crowley said the bonds had been used to invest in transit improvements at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) as well as for other public improvements.
Crowley also singled out for praise another bill, the Summer Jobs Act, a $600 million initiative to create more than 300,000 summer jobs for youths ages 16 to 21. At 18.5 percent, unemployment is high for those 16 to 24 years old, and even higher for African Americans and Latino teens, Crowley said.
Maloney noted, “The recession has been long and painful for millions of Americans, but with this bill and measures like the Recovery Act, we are getting our economy moving in the right direction.”
According to a summary of the Small Business and Infrastructure Act issued by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, the one-year extension of the emergency fund being used by 35 states currently shows signs of returning 160,000 people to work, with more to come if extended.
The fund is supported by the National Governors’ Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Association of Counties.
The one-year extension is needed so states and counties can continue their subsidized jobs programs and continue to provide assistance to needy families.
The emergency fund is due to expire on September 30, and some states are planning to discontinue job programs between April and June if it is not extended, according to the Pelosi report.
The approved legislation would extend the Build America Bonds program through 2013. These bonds have helped to spur job creation by funding projects to build schools, sewers, hospitals and transit projects, and helped to finance more than $78 billion in such projects through March 1.
Currently, the federal payments for these bonds would expire at the end of this year, but under the bill, which passed the federal payments for these bonds to state and local governments, would last through 2013. The estimated cost of the bonds program is $7.5 billion over 10 years.
Another similar program being funded by Recovery Zone Bonds, targets areas of high unemployment, significant poverty and high home foreclosures. The bonds can be used for job training, education and economic development, including investments in infrastructure. The estimated cost is $2.3 billion over 10 years and the program funding is scheduled to run out at the end of 2011.
Crowley summed up: Congress’ full attention is on creating jobs and stabilizing and strengthening the economy. In December, the House passed the Jobs for Main Street Act and earlier this month President [Barack] Obama signed into law the HIRE Act, which provides incentives for businesses to hire workers. These bills included critical investments in small businesses, state projects such as school construction and support for job training programs that are keeping police and firefighters on the street and teachers in classrooms.
Crowley is a six-term member of Congress. He sits on the House Committee on Ways and Means, which has jurisdiction over tax policy.