New Hampshire would benefit from president's jobs bill
These are tough times for New Hampshire. In fact, these are tough times for all Americans.In New Hampshire, during last winter's ice storms, the spring winds and now Irene, we have seen the power for good generated by coming together and sharing the load. Individuals, neighbors, whole communities, the state and the entire country have rallied to support those in need as a result of these calamities.Though not a natural disaster, the current storm of bad economic circumstances is an opportunity for all Americans to come together with similar spirit and goodwill to get our friends and family members back to work and to put our fiscal house in order. Through the American Jobs Act, President Obama has laid out some common-sense steps we can take right now to get us moving in the right direction.We've got roads, bridges, rail lines and dams that need rebuilding, and we have unemployed construction workers ready to work. We can cut taxes for small businesses to help them hire and grow. We can rehire our teachers laid off as a result of state budget cuts and make sure our returning veterans are hired when they come home. We can extend the payroll tax cut for working families that would put an extra $1,000 in their pockets.Here is what the American Jobs Act could mean for New Hampshire:1. American Jobs Act would cut the payroll tax in half to 3.1 percent on the first $5 million in wages that a business pays. In New Hampshire, this would affect 30,000 firms.2. The president's plan includes $50 billion in immediate investments in transportation infrastructure that now receives a grade of "D" from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The plan calls for at least a $132.6 million investment in New Hampshire's infrastructure, resulting in approximately 1,700 local jobs. 3. The American Jobs Act will invest in states and localities to avoid and reverse layoffs. It will provide $70.1 million in funding to New Hampshire that will support as many as 900 jobs.4. New Hampshire could receive $20 million to refurbish vacant and foreclosed homes.5. New Hampshire could receive $8.7 million to support its community colleges.6. Pathways back to work in the American Jobs Act include a sweeping reform in the unemployment insurance system that could help put the 18,000 long-term unemployed workers in New Hampshire back to work.7. The act would also extend unemployment insurance, preventing 1,700 people looking for work in New Hampshire from losing their benefits.8. The plan also provides opportunities and training in growth industries for 300 adults and 700 youths in New Hampshire.9. The act proposes cutting workers' payroll taxes in half next year. A typical household in New Hampshire, with a median income of $64,000, would receive a tax cut of about $1,980.The president is proposing that we rebuild the American economy by coming together, by working hard and by sharing the burden. The American Jobs Act and the funding of its provisions are based on balance, fairness and the same set of rules for everyone. These are values that the people of the Granite State exhibit every day. Let's hope that all Americans will come together right now to support this bold agenda as we struggle to recover from these tough economic times.Molly Lambert is New Hampshire state director of USDA Rural Development.