Issue Position: Jobs and the Economy
Our nation is climbing out of a deep and serious economic crisis, caused by years of bad decision-making. Now is the time to secure our economic future by lowering taxes for those that go out and work every day, helping our small businesses grow and reinvesting in the education and development of America's workforce. We must not give up on our next generation by sitting back or waiting for he economy to "fix itself." Now is the time to grab the future with both hands. America is at its best when we lead.
As a former small business owner, the best economic stimulus I know is a job. My first priority is to create and protect American jobs.
Middle class and working class families have been hit hard by this economic recession. The last thing we need to do is raise taxes on these families. I have voted to cut taxes for 98 percent of Americans and supported over $800 billion in tax cuts for families and small businesses.
I also support extending the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for working families and small businesses. What I cannot support are tax giveaways to the wealthiest Americans. The Bush tax cuts included nearly a trillion dollars in tax breaks for the wealthiest two percent of Americans. With a national debt of $13 trillion, these are simply irresponsible. By allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for the top two percent of income earners, we will save $700 billion.
Too many Americans are unemployed and worrying about their retirement. All of this uncertainty comes at a time when families face increasing costs for education, health care and energy. That is why I have taken action to protect the jobs we have and to create new ones. I supported the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which has created or saved almost 2.8 million jobs, including those of teachers, police and firefighters. The Recovery Act also cut taxes for 98 percent of Americans and small businesses.
The HIRE Act cuts taxes for businesses that hire unemployed workers, and awards an income tax credit of $1,000 for businesses that retain these new employees. It also includes tax cuts to help small businesses invest, expand and hire more workers; provisions to make it easier for states to take up infrastructure projects; and an extension of the Highway Trust Fund that allows for billions of dollars in infrastructure development in Arizona and around the country.
Older Americans' Workforce Agenda
Today, more than ever, seniors are changing jobs, staying on the job longer and going back to school -- not just because they want to but because they have to. I introduced the Older Americans' Workforce Agenda with the help of my Senior and Aging Issues Advisory Council, a group of 53 Southern Arizona community leaders. My Older Americans' Workforce Agenda will help seniors get the jobs they want and give them the financial assistance they need if they choose to go back to school.
I introduced the Older Americans' Job Opportunities Blueprint (JOB) Act to set in motion a national initiative to help those seniors who want or need work to find it. This bill expands eligibility of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to include workers age 55 and over whose income is below 125 percent of the poverty threshold.
Back to School Act
I introduced the Back to School Act to provide tax credits to Americans age 55 and over to go back to school. This bill creates a tax credit of up to $2,500 a year for qualified education expenses for seniors who enroll in part-time or full-time classes at an accredited educational institution. It extends the Work Opportunity Tax Credit through December 31, 2012.
Small Business Lending Fund Act.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, employing more than half of all employees in the private sector. Ensuring that small businesses have the resources they need to keep innovating, growing and creating jobs is critical to our economic recovery. I hear from small business owners every day about how difficult it is to get money to grow their business. The Small Business Lending Fund Act is designed to boost bank lending to small businesses struggling to gain access to credit due to the financial crisis. The legislation will establish a $30 billion fund to boost lending to small businesses looking to hire and expand their operations by providing additional capital to community banks. The legislation also provides one billion dollars in financing to support financing for early stage small businesses.
Investing in the Solar Industry
Solar offers a tremendous opportunity for Arizona, and all of America, to address some of the largest challenges we face. Solar power is a successful, growing industry with huge global potential. The worldwide market for power is over $6 trillion a year-- there is a large and fast-growing demand for new, clean sources of electricity. Solar means good jobs and a competitive America.
Click here to read more about my work to create good jobs in Arizona's solar industry.
Unemployment benefits inject money into our economy, and help families under pressure to make ends meet when times are tough. Getting people back to work and spurring growth in our economy are the first crucial steps to getting the federal deficit under control. I welcomed the passage of legislation in July to extend unemployment insurance for Americans who have been out of work for six months or more. But this action should have come sooner. It is shameful that Americans who are unemployed through no fault of their own have been made pawns in a callous game of politicking. The extension bill will restore benefits for unemployed Americans who have been out of work for more than the 26 weeks of unemployment insurance offered by most states.