What the American Jobs Act Would Mean for Wisconsin
President Obama has announced his American Jobs Act, a package that includes $447 billion in tax cuts and new spending aimed at increasing employment and upgrading infrastructure across the country.
Here’s what the American Jobs Act would mean for Wisconsin, in dollar amounts and numbers of jobs supported. The figures are taken from materials posted by the White House.
Continuation and expansion of the payroll tax cut: President Obama has proposed extending and expanding a temporary decrease in individual payroll taxes. This provision would give a $1,580 tax cut to a typical Wisconsin household with an income of $51,000.
President Obama has also proposed temporarily reducing payroll taxes paid by employers. This would cut payroll taxes for 110,000 small businesses in Wisconsin.
Infrastructure investment: As part of this package, the federal government would invest $575.4 million in highway and transit modernization in Wisconsin, which would support approximation 7,500 local jobs. The American Jobs Act would also include $368.7 million to modernize Wisconsin school infrastructure (which would support up to 4,800 jobs), $79.9 million to modernize technical college infrastructure, and $27.4 million for rehabilitation of vacant or foreclosed homes in Wisconsin.
Continuation of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed: Extended benefits for jobless workers are currently set to expire at the end of this year. President Obama’s proposal would continue those benefits, helping tens of thousands of unemployed works in Wisconsin who would otherwise be cut off from that assistance.
Fiscal relief: The federal government would provide $536.0 million to support up to 7,400 jobs in education, police, or fire services. This would be good news to cash-strapped school districts and local governments that might otherwise be forced to lay off teachers or first responders.
President Obama’s proposal would have clear benefits for Wisconsin and could help mitigate some of the most harmful spending cuts in the state budget, especially the cuts made to schools. (A recent study ranked Wisconsin #1 among the states in per-pupil education cuts in 2012.) But it’s still an open question as to whether or how much of the package will be passed by Congress. Much is riding on the House Republicans, and how much consideration they will give to passing Obama’s proposal.