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Senate Dems Unveil Jobs Agenda

February 4, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Senate Democrats this morning announced an $80 billion-plus “jobs agenda” package that they’ll begin debating next week. It’s going to be taken up as a series of small bills. So what’s included? Well, nobody know for sure. But from various reports, it looks like in will include at least these five things:

1) Tax credits for small businesses — The bill would provide a credit of up to $5,000 for each new employee hired in 2010. It may also exempt companies that hire from Social Security taxes for the rest of the years as well. Additionally, there may be some write-offs for businesses that make new equipment purchases.

2) Funds for state and municipal construction projects — Money for the federal Highway Trust Fund, which helps fund road projects. Expansion of the Build America Bonds program, which helps states and local government pay for big construction projects.

3) Unemployment insurance benefits extension — The current extension of unemployment benefits and COBRA health insurance benefits is scheduled to end at the end of March. The jobs agenda will extend these programs for a period.

4) “Cash for Caulkers” — Provides incentives for homeowners that undertake energy efficiency improvement projects in their houses, or hire contractors to do the projects.

5) Help for retaining keep public employees — Money for states and local governments to help them avoid laying off teachers, police and other public employees.

Details and full legislative text are still forthcoming. Big questions still remain, like how much, exactly, it will cost, and how it will be paid for. With votes on these jobs bills expected to start on Monday, we’ll be hustling to get the bills online for you to review over the weekend.

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