Democrats announce 'Michigan Jobs Now' plan. Will it work?

The following is a message from the Michigan House Democrats. Read it, and let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Several House Democrats Friday announced a proposal to invest in schools, infrastructure, and renewable energy efforts that would be a proven strategy to create thousands of jobs right away for Michigan workers. State Representatives Jim Ananich (D-Flint), Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), and Rudy Hobbs (D-Lathrup Village) laid out a Michigan Jobs Now plan to use the nearly one billion dollars in potential state tax revenue to provide a per pupil increase to local schools, address the critical roads, bridges, and sewer needs of the state, and provide capital to kickstart renewable energy projects.We know that investing in schools, infrastructure, and renewable energy creates jobs now and helps us compete in the future, said Ananich, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. This legislature has focused on a number of controversial issues, but none of them will help people hang onto their job or get back to work right away. Our plan truly makes jobs the top priority and does so in a way that doesn TMt rely on wishful thinking or faith-based economics.By reversing the raid of the $650 million surplus in the school aid fund and splitting the hundreds of millions in additional resources expected to be announced at next Monday TMs Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference between infrastructure and renewable energy initiatives, thousands of people will be able to get back to work, and the state and consumers will be able to realize long-term energy savings. The nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency estimated this week that state revenue collections are up by more than $602 million for the first two quarters of 2011."We are happy to hear legislators embracing new investment in our crumbling roads and bridges in light of possible unexpected state revenue increases," said Keith Ledbetter, director of legislative affairs for the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association. "We can put people to work immediately on infrastructure projects while building capital assets that will benefit Michigan's economy for years to come."The Democrats suggested that $250 million in infrastructure funding could be used to jump-start projects at the state and local level, with a focus also on critical bridges. Another $250 million for renewable energy initiatives could be promoted through targeted tax credits, as was done with the successful advanced battery effort previously.With our deep history in manufacturing and engineering, Michigan is well positioned to compete for good paying jobs in a growing sector, said Irwin, a member of the House Energy and Technology Committee. Building wind turbines, advanced batteries and solar cells are all major opportunities to get our people back to work and to put Michigan back on top.Governor Snyder and the Republican-controlled legislature have voted to slash funding for public schools and increase taxes on seniors and working families to pay for a nearly 90 percent tax break for businesses. This, despite admitting that there is no evidence the tax cut will result in more jobs and the Governor TMs public comments during interviews about unemployment changes indicating he plans to focus on jobs next year. Democrats also offered alternatives to stop the raid on school aid funding, but have so far been blocked by the majority in both chambers."We can't turn our backs on Michigan's children. We need them. An economic rebound will not happen without an educated workforce," said Hobbs, a member of the House Education Committee and former school board member. "Simply put, the best job-creating program the state can support is to fund Michigan schools."

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