Bloomberg News

Mayors Ask Congress, Obama to Spur New Jobs With Funding, Credit

September 02, 2011

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Mayors from Philadelphia to Los Angeles called on Congress and President Barack Obama to stop playing politics and get to work on a job-creation program that includes tax credits for hiring and loans to spur manufacturing.

To pay for the proposals that include extending jobless benefits and spending on transportation, $1.5 trillion of corporate profits held overseas should be repatriated and business-tax loopholes should be closed, U.S. Conference of Mayors leaders said today on telephone call with reporters.

Congress failed to pass measures to create jobs and unsettled consumers, investors and markets by bickering over raising the nation’s debt ceiling, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, president of the group, said on the call. The recommendations also urge a redirection of federal funds from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and overhauling the tax code to “establish more equitable rates.”

“It is time for these people to get off their duffs and start doing the work of the American people,” said Villaraigosa, a 58-year-old Democrat.

Employment growth unexpectedly stagnated in the U.S. last month, Labor Department figures released today show. While employers reported adding no new jobs for the month, a Bloomberg News survey of analysts had a median forecast of a 68,000 gain. The nation’s jobless rate held at 9.1 percent and has averaged 9 percent this year, compared with 4.6 percent in 2007, before the onset of the longest recession since World War II.

Obama Speech

Obama plans to propose tax and spending initiatives next week that would have a “significant” effect on economic growth and job creation, according to Gene Sperling, a top economic adviser in the White Houser. The president will address Congress on Sept. 8 to lay out his proposals.

The conference of mayors, which includes the chief executives of 1,191 cities with populations over 30,000, said investing in improvements to roads and bridges through a fully funded transportation bill would create 2.8 million jobs. It proposed a manufacturing loan program to provide $20 billion to spur development, and called for rehabilitating and renting out foreclosed homes to create construction work.

Instead of helping to spur employment, Congress has cost 51 jobs in his city by cutting Community Development Block Grants, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said. The program provides money for low-income neighborhoods.

“Congress is working against the interests of Americans while they sit in the bubble of Washington while the rest of America is in pain,” Nutter, a Democrat, said on the call. “The American people did not vote them into office to have adult food fights.”

--Editors: Ted Bunker, Stephen Merelman.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at cpalmeri1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net


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