The National League of Cities (NLC) and the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) voiced their support for a bill introduced in the House of Representatives today, claiming the legislation would lead to a million jobs in both the public and private sector. The bill would provide $75 billion, over two years, in direct funding to cities with 50,000 people or more.
The “Local Jobs for America Act” was introduced today in the House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee by Chairman George Miller (D-CA) and other members of Congress. Local government advocates say the multi-billion investment is much needed to make sure cities are not left behind during the economic recovery.
Despite most economic estimates finding that the recession has reached its low point, most economists agree that local economies continue to lag for up to two years. According to research conducted by the NLC, municipal governments are facing budget shortfalls between $56 and $83 billion in 2010-2012, while state aid to cities could be cut by as much as $30 billion during this same time period.
“Our research at the National League of Cities shows the ability of cities to meet their financial needs is now in jeopardy and will most likely worsen substantially through the rest of 2010,” Ronald Loveridge, mayor of Riverside, Calif. and President of the NLC, said in a statement. “The economy cannot recover quickly if cities falter, and so federal action now is essential.”
NLC research indicates that job losses over the next two years are expected to near 1.5 million.
The bill includes $75 billion over two years, with $22.5 billion of that going directly to governors to distribute to communities with fewer than 50,000 residents. The bill also includes funding for 50,000 on-the-job private-sector training positions, as well as provisions already approved by the House for education, law enforcement and firefighter positions.
“Mayors know from experience that investment in metropolitan economies with direct funding to cities can create and save jobs and can do it quickly,” said Burnsville, Minn, Mayor and USCM President Elizabeth Kautz.
The “Local Jobs for America Act” joins other economic measures recently considered and passed in Congress, including a $12 to $13 billion small-business tax bill in the House and the Senate today approved an “extenders” bill, meant to extend unemployment insurance. The extension for a host of unemployment aid and tax provisions will cost almost $140 billion, but supporters joined the views of NLC and USCM officials in calling the broader jobs agenda measures necessary.
CivSource will be attending the National League of Cities’ Congressional City Conference next week, look for our editor @jefferyrlsmith and please feel free to contact us with various story ideas or issues.