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Legislators From 46 States Tell DC: Pass Jobs Bill Now

10/20/2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 20, 2011
CONTACT: Charles Monaco, Press and New Media Specialist, Progressive States Network, 212 680 3116 x115, cmonaco@progressivestates.org

Hundreds of Legislators From 46 States Tell D.C.: Pass Jobs Bill, Include State Aid
As Senate Considers “Teachers & First Responders Back to Work Act,” 211 State Lawmakers Demand Action on Jobs

New York, NY – Hundreds of state lawmakers representing every corner of the nation joined together today to send a single message to Washington, D.C.: pass a meaningful jobs bill, and pass it now.

In an open letter released today by Progressive States Network, 211 legislators representing 46 states voiced their strong support for the American Jobs Act and warned of “devastating” economic consequences to their states if jobs legislation was not passed by Congress. The lawmakers also urged the inclusion of critical measures to support states in any legislation emerging from Congress – including the $35 billion in aid to states that would create and protect hundreds of thousands of jobs, and which is currently being debated in the U.S. Senate as part of the “Teachers & First Responders Back to Work Act.”

“State legislators know first-hand how deep the jobs crisis is in their states, and our message is clear: it’s time for Congress to act,” said Sen. Joe Bolkcom (IA), Chair of the Board of Progressive States Network. "Over 600,000 state and local public sector jobs have been lost since the beginning of the recession. The assistance to states being debated in the Senate right now would help prevent 280,000 additional layoffs of teachers in our states, and keep thousands of our first responders on the job. These are real families whose economic security will be protected, and who will be able to continue to contribute to state economies.”

In addition to underscoring the need for federal aid to states to save and create jobs, state legislators also identified other priorities for Congressional jobs legislation in the letter. These include revenue-generating measures that ask all to pay their fair share and the adoption of job-saving and job-creating policies that have already been proven successful in many states, such as preventing employer discrimination against the unemployed and allowing workers to keep their jobs while collecting partial unemployment benefits through work-sharing.

“Policies like work-sharing and the prevention of employer discrimination against the unemployed have proven both popular and successful in the states and would benefit the entire nation if adopted by Congress,” said Ann Pratt, Executive Director of Progressive States Network. “Even in the toxic environment that many state legislative sessions saw this year, these are common-sense measures that gained bipartisan and sometimes unanimous support in state legislatures. There’s no reason they should not also be supported in Congress as well.”

Lawmakers from all regions of the nation offered a variety of reasons for why the American Jobs Act is critical for their states:

  • Rep. Angela Williams (CO): “The passage of the Jobs Act is critical to our country and constituents on a local level.”
  • Rep. David Frockt (WA): “Washington's state budget is in dire condition. We need this legislation passed.”
  • Rep. Margo McNeil (MO): “The most important action that we as legislators can do is to put people back to work and to keep them working. The American Jobs Act does that.”
  • Sen. Nicole LeFavour (ID): “To re-balance our economy we cannot keep shedding state and federal jobs…. Keeping taxes on the wealthy at historically low rates is irresponsible when so much is at stake.”

The full text of the letter and list of signers is available at: http://www.progressivestates.org/jobsnow

State legislator signers are available for comment on this story. Please contact Charles Monaco at 212 680 3116 x115 or cmonaco@progressivestates.org.

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About Progressive States Network:

Progressive States Network is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the work of progressive state legislators around the country and to the advancement of state policies that deliver on issues the issues that matter to working families: strong wage standards and workplace freedom, balancing work and family responsibilities, health care for all, smart growth and clean energy, tax and budget reform, clean and fair elections, and technology investments to bridge the digital divide.

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