U.S. Mayors Join Members of Congress to Announce New Jobs Bill TodayLegislation Will Quickly Create a Million Public and Private Jobs in Local Communities
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) President Burnsville (MN) Mayor Elizabeth Kautz joined House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA) and other members of Congress on a conference call to announce new legislation titled "The Local Jobs for America Act" that, if passed, will put a million people to work by restoring services in local communities, in both public and private sector jobs.
"Mayors are pleased to partner with Chairman Miller to push this important legislation. We deal face-to-face with unemployed citizens because we see them everywhere - in coffee shops, grocery stores, beauty salons and barber shops. And they all tell us the same thing - all they want is a good, dependable job so they can support their families," said Kautz.
Developed with the input of the nation's mayors, this bill responds to the needs of MainStreet with funding for job creation and job retention in cities by providing $75 billion over two years in direct funding to cities with populations of 50,000 of more.
Based on the proven Community Development Block Grant program, the bill includes many of the provisions put forth in the "Mayors' 2010 Metro Agenda for America," which prioritizes direct fiscal assistance to cities, block grants for green jobs, investments in neighborhoods through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), COPS grants for public safety jobs, summer jobs for young people and targeted transportation projects for infrastructure jobs.
"Mayors know from experience that investment in metropolitan economies with direct funding to cities can create and save jobs and can do it quickly," said Kautz.
The faltering U.S. economy is forcing cities and municipalities to cut jobs that are critically important to local communities such as police officers, firefighters and first responders. And cities and metropolitan areas, where most of the people in this country live and where joblessness is concentrated, are experiencing high unemployment numbers - often in double digits. For example, the unemployment rate in Los Angeles, CA is 13.5 percent; the unemployment rate in Philadelphia is 10.6 percent; in Providence, RI, the unemployment rate is 14.9 percent; and in Trenton, NJ, it is 13 percent.
"Mayors are holding the nation together by making impossible decisions everyday, and we have made cuts to the point where only bone is left. These unemployment rates will continue to plague our cities for years to come if we don't act now," Kautz said citing economic forecasts by Global Insight that show by 2011, over 100 metropolitan areas will still have an unemployment rate higher than ten percent. "And of course the center-cities of these metro areas will have even higher unemployment numbers, so we have no time to waste."
A bi-partisan group of mayors came to Washington, D.C. in January and again in February to urge Congress to put aside partisan differences and quickly pass a comprehensive jobs bill that puts Americans back to work and invests in MainSreet metropolitan economies, where joblessness is concentrated.
"We hope that Congress will follow the mayors' example of working together to address the employment needs of America's people. And we also hope Congress shares our sense of urgency to move quickly to help American families who are struggling," said Tom Cochran, USCM CEO and Executive Director.
U.S. Representative Keith Ellision (D-MN), U.S. Representative Phil Hare (D-IL) and National League of Cities President, Riverside (CA) Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge also participated on the conference call to announce the Local Jobs for America Act.
Audio of today's press call can be heard at www.usmayors.org
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,139 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. More information about the Conference is available at usmayors.org.
Posted: March 11, 2010
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