January 7th 2014
By Rodney Yearby, Sr.
At present, there are three times as many people looking for employment than there are positions available. Beginning December 28th 2013, 1.3 million Americans lost their unemployment benefits just three short days after Christmas.
This Post-Obama GOP has no shame. When Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray sat down to hammer out the details of a budget proposal, extending benefits for the long-term unemployed was a deal breaker for Paul Ryan and his Republican colleagues. Even though the budget committee passed the first bipartisan budget deal since 2009, this two-year budget proposal left Americans wanting and President Obama was obviously disgusted.
Twenty million Americans are UN or under employed.
Senator Rand Paul (R) from Kentucky says “long-term benefits do a disservice to the people who need it.” The majority of Americans, however, believe that cutting the economic lifeline from citizens unemployed through no fault of their own is wrong and immoral.
In his last address to the nation in 2013, in a stern voice, the President stated, “We are a better country than that.” The most disparaging fact is that U.S. corporations continue to make record profits on Wall Street, while the chasm between the top 2% and the rest of America grows exponentially wider.
When Congress returns from the Christmas holiday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reed has scheduled a vote for a 3-month extension of unemployment benefits to be held on Jan 6th 2014.
With all the hoopla and bull-pucky going on in the media about the “Obama Care” rollout and the website problem that started it all, searing questions still remain on the minds of the American public. “Where are the jobs?” and “Are things getting better or worse?”
In response to those pointed questions, as of today, we’ve had 48 straight months of solid U.S. job growth. The economy has added a four-month average of 204,000 jobs from August through November of last year; up sharply from 159,000 a month from April through July. The 203,000 jobs that were added in November 2013 brings the total to over 7 million jobs created since the Bush economy crashed and President Obama took over the Oval Office.
But what is most significant to note, is that the unemployment rate has dropped to 7%, which is the lowest it’s been in five years!
These facts clearly dunk those searing questions in cold water. Jobs are being created and things are definitely getting better. Nevertheless, let us remember that it took over a decade to dig the hole we are in today, and as the President puts it, “We’ve still got work to do.”
In order to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure, President Obama has called for significant investments to modernize our nation’s highways, bridges, transit systems and airports nationwide.
Quoting The White House website, these bullet points focusing on the creation of jobs, are in the works at this time.
Additional Efforts to Support Middle Class Jobs are:
- Creating Up to 45 New Manufacturing Innovation Institutes
- Investing in Community Colleges to Train Workers for Jobs of the Future
- Call to Action for the Private Sector to Work With Government on Getting the Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work
- Increasing the Minimum Wage So That No Family Who Works Full-Time Has to Raise their Family in Poverty
On June 7, 2012, President Obama signed HR 4348, the Transportation and Student Loan Interest Rate bill to strengthen America’s transportation system and grow our economy, as well as to stop interest rates on college student loans from doubling. Many people are working as a result of this bill, building our country’s roads and bridges.
In Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley noted, in that state alone, more than 10,000 men and women are on the job thanks to this project’s legislation.
Determined to move the country forward, President Obama has made plans, as he put it, “…to do some nation-building here at home.”
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said this legislation put thousands of construction workers on job sites across the country and supports our commitment to restoring America’s infrastructure.
Secretary LaHood also noted this transportation bill called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, a.k.a. (MAP-21), will sustain our Highway Trust Fund and provide states and communities with two years of steady funding to build roads and bridges, and transit systems.
The Job Creators:
Here in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo has done an outstanding job answering the challenge of creating jobs with over a dozen initiatives.
The STAR UP-NEW YORK initiative creates tax-free zones across the state for new and expanding businesses. Now, businesses can operate 100% tax-free for 10 years. No business, corporate, state or local taxes, sales and property taxes, or franchise fees.
Another initiative to create jobs here in our local area is the NEW YORK WORKS for Business headed by the Regional Economic Development Council. Governor Cuomo divided the state into 10 Regional Councils. To learn more about Regional Councils, visit www.nyopenforbusiness.com
Six counties and dozens of municipalities make up the Mohawk Valley Region and they have come together with “inspiration and strategic direction” to “transform ideas into economic engines.”
“The Regional councils will enable every section of the state to prepare individualized economic plans and will make the regions the drivers of their own success,” according to Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy.
Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy heads the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council. The Lt. Governor is the Regional Council Chair, and Lawrence T. Gilroy III, President of Gilroy, Kernan & Gilroy, Inc. along with Dr. Bjong Wolf – President of SUNY Institute of Technology, function as the Co-Chairs.
Committee Membership includes Senators Joseph Griffo, James Seward & David Valesky- Assemblymen Anthony Brindisi, William Magee & Claudia Tenney- Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri and Dr. Randall VanWagoner, President of Mohawk Valley Community College.
On April 9th 2012, Governor Cuomo announced the state would invest $35 million dollars for vital upgrades to the North-South Arterial in Utica.
Jim Piccola, from the New York State Department of Transportation, had this to say:
“The Utica North-South Arterial is the most significant link in the region’s transportation system carrying 40,000 vehicles per day. The project will enhance connectivity, aesthetics, and local mobility to stimulate economic activity in the city of Utica and the entire Mohawk Valley Region. Pedestrian and vehicular safety concerns are also being addressed with the new highway alignment over Court Street utilizing a pedestrian bridge, and a multi-use trail.”
Contract 1of the North-South Arterial Project is a $12.6 million dollar project that is on schedule and will be complete by August 2014. At this time, the intersections at both Lincoln Ave. and Champlin Ave. are finished (except for the top-course). Phase 1 of this project includes the upgrade of the Sunset Ave pedestrian bridge that will be complete by Aug 2014. Approximately 600 jobs were created so far during this first phase.
Contract 2 of the N-S Arterial Project will fund approximately $53 million dollars. Development and reconstruction of the Arterial is scheduled for the 2014 fiscal year. Construction is expected to begin in late Spring 2014 to be completed in Aug 2017.
Bidding for jobs on phase 2 of the project are expected to begin in March of 2014. So if you are a contractor and have a license for this kind of work, inquire online at dot.ny.gov and select Projects. They will be let to Bid in March 2014.
Through the R.E.D.C. initiative, a windfall of $82.4 million dollars was awarded to 76 projects in Mohawk Valley. With the Quad C facility under construction on the SUNY IT campus, the Utica/Rome area will soon reclaim the economic stability it had before Griffis Air Force Base and companies like Bendix and G.E. (that economically fueled Oneida County) closed down and left the area.