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Job Creation and State Fiscal Relief Resolutions Moving in the States

In the State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama stated:

"The devastation remains.  One in 10 Americans still cannot find work.  Many businesses have shuttered.  Home values have declined.  Small towns and rural communities have been hit especially hard.  And for those who'd already known poverty, life has become that much harder...  That is why jobs must be our number-one focus in 2010, and that's why I'm calling for a new jobs bill."

With the fiscal crisis forcing states to layoff hundreds of thousands of teachers, nurses and police officers, the need for more federal job creation and state fiscal relief support is clear.  And there is substantial momentum building around this issue in the states.

  • New Mexico Rep. Eleanor Chavez introduced HJM39, a joint memorial calling on the federal government to pass a jobs creation plan.  The memorial passed the House of Representatives last Saturday and will now be considered by the state Senate. 
  • Similar resolutions are likely to be introduced in Illinois, Nevada and Vermont.  Members of the Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative (TFOC), including New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness (NYFF) and the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), are working with lawmakers in their states to highlight the acute need for increased federal support.
  • Along with Maine Senate President Libby Mitchell, House Speaker Hannah Pingree held a press conference this past Tuesday to garner awareness of Maine's economic and fiscal situation and highlight the need for another round of federal aid.

If you are a lawmaker interested in introducing a resolution requesting the federal government to move a jobs bill, PSN can assist you in that effort.  Please contact us at jobcreation@progressivestates.org for support.  General resolution language can be found here.

Additionally, over one hundred legislators from thirty-one states have signed on to Progressive States Network's letter calling on the President and Congress to move swiftly on job creation and state fiscal relief.  State lawmakers can sign onto the letter here, while citizens and advocates can use this online tool to contact their state legislators and ask them to add their signature.


The Need and Public Support for Action:  As we discussed in January, the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in early 2009 was critical in preventing a full collapse of the national economy and helping states address huge budget gaps.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the ARRA created or maintained 600,000 to 1.6 million jobs as of September 2009 and found it decreased the unemployment rate by almost one percentage point.  Unfortunately, millions of Americans are still out of work and states are struggling to find ways to deal with enormous deficits and plummeting revenue.  Projected governors' budgets could lead to layoffs amounting to an additional 900,000 jobs lost in the economy.

There is extensive bipartisan support for federal funding for job creation and aid to states.  Winthrop University conducted a poll in late 2009 and found that 71.6 percent of respondents favor funding for jobs (94.5 percent identify as Democrats, 53.4 percent Republican, 68.9 percent Independent) and 62.7 percent support "giving aid to states in serious financial trouble" (80.6 percent Democrat, 50.9 percent Republican, 63.6 percent Independent). 

As the U.S. Senate moves on a jobs package within the next few weeks, timing is crucial.  State lawmakers must send a strong message to Washington that the country needs jobs and states need relief.

Resources:
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Additional Federal Fiscal Relief Needed to Help States Address Recession's Impact
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Recession Continues to Batter State Budgets; State Responses Could Slow Recovery
Stateline.org - Economist Mark Zandi: On stimulus, jobs, state finances, inflation and the year ahead
Moody's Analytics - The Case for Another Round of Federal Aid to State & Local Govt
WhiteHouse.Gov - Remarks by the President of the United States in State of the Union Address
Winthrop University - Winthrop Poll Results - November 2009 Findings
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Governors’ New Budgets Indicate Loss of Many Jobs if Federal Aid Expires