"How Will Obama's Jobs Bill Affect Texas?" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
President Obama sent a $447 billion jobs bill to Congress today — his latest attempt to revive the struggling economy. Under the American Jobs Act, $85 billion would be sent to state and local governments. So how will the plan affect Texas?
Mark Lavergne, a spokesman for the Texas Workforce Commission, said he was still reviewing the act and “trying to see what strings are attached.” Gov. Rick Perry's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In the meantime, here's what the White House said in a release posted to its website on Friday.
Tax cuts to help small businesses hire and grow
Under the president's proposal, the payroll tax would be cut in half, to 3.1 percent, on the first $5 million in wages paid by employers. This would provide tax relief to all businesses, but it targets the 98 percent of firms with wages below this level. For Texas, the White House says, that means 390,000 firms would receive a payroll tax cut.
Put workers back on the job while “modernizing” Texas
The plan would make immediate investments of about $2.6 billion for highways, transit, rail and aviation in Texas that could support a minimum of close to 33,800 local jobs. It would provide another $2.6 billion or so in funds to the state to support up to 39,500 educator and first responder jobs. Texas would also receive about $2.3 billion in funding to support as many as 30,300 jobs related to improving school infrastructure that would modernize public schools. The state could receive about $114 million more to revitalize and refurbish local communities and about $458 million in funding for the next fiscal year for community colleges
Extend unemployment insurance and create a “Pathways Back to Work" fund
The president is proposing large reforms to the unemployment insurance system to help put 329,000 long-term unemployed Texans back to work. He's also calling for an extension of unemployment insurance, which would prevent 123,900 people looking for work in Texas from losing their benefits in just the first six weeks. And he's proposing a new “Pathways Back to Work Fund,” which would give youths and adults opportunities to work and receive training in growth industries, which could give 8,700 adults and 29,200 youths jobs in Texas.
Tax relief for Texas workers
The president's plan would expand the payroll tax cut by cutting workers payroll taxes in half next year. A typical household in Texas, with a median income of $47,000, would receive a tax cut of around $1,460.
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