President signs jobs bill, extending Highway Trust Fund
On Thursday, President Obama signed into law new legislation aimed at creating more jobs through the federal Highway Trust Fund. Meanwhile, National League of Cities' (NLC) President and Riverside, Calif., Mayor Ronald Loveridge, in an address to NLC members, called for support for the Local Jobs for America Act.
Obama's signature on the HIRE Act offers businesses a number of incentives to hire new workers and extends the Highway Trust Fund through the end of this year so states can create and sustain transportation construction jobs, according to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood's "Fast Lane" blog. "From payroll tax exemptions to new depreciation rules to tax credits, this bill is one more tool to continue fueling economic recovery," LaHood wrote. "The year-end extension means transportation projects employing thousands of workers can continue without the threat of disruption by furlough episodes like the one we experienced only two weeks ago. It also means states can plan for a more reliable funding future, allowing needed projects to continue advancing through the pipeline from idea to reality."
LaHood quotes Obama's vow to pursue further legislation to stimulate job creation. "There's a lot more that we're going to need to do to spur hiring in the private sector and bring about full economic recovery, from helping creditworthy small businesses to get loans that they need to expand, to offering incentives to make homes and businesses more energy efficient, to investing in infrastructure so we can put Americans to work doing the work that America needs done."
Loveridge, speaking at NLC's Congressional City Conference in Washington on Monday, called for Congress to quickly take action on the Local Jobs for America Act, which is still under consideration in Congress. The legislation will provide targeted and flexible fiscal assistance to local governments for job creation, according to NLC.
In cities, it is becoming increasingly difficult to fund and maintain basic services, such as safety, police and fire services, Loveridge said. "We represent cities where unemployment numbers are not statistics. These numbers stand for real people, real families struggling to provide for food, clothing and shelter," Loveridge said. "We represent small businesses that are laying off employees or closing their doors. The pain is real, and we feel it."