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Creating small business jobs, helping veterans should be national priorities
Creating small business jobs, helping veterans should be national priorities

Congressman Ike Skelton
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 28, 2010) — For the past several months, I have argued that Congress must concentrate on spurring job growth and protecting our nation from dangerous enemies abroad. Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation that would address both of these issues.

I continue to believe that tax cuts for middle class families and small businesses, coupled with infrastructural investments, are the most effective means of facilitating economic expansion, especially in Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District. H.R. 4849, a jobs bill passed last week, takes a two-pronged approach to creating American jobs. It would provide several small business tax incentives, such as exempting from taxation all small business capital gains made by an individual and increasing by four times, from $5,000 to $20,000, the tax deduction for some of the expenses associated with starting a new business.

H.R. 4849 would also extend several of the most successful infrastructural investment programs created by last year’s Recovery Act. The Build America Bonds program, which has been very popular among state and local governments, allows governments to save money on local construction projects like school renovations and road construction. Endorsed by the National Association of Counties, this bill would allow for much-needed construction to continue without endangering the financial stability of cash-strapped governments. Infrastructure investments expand the construction and supply industries and create jobs.

As the American economy continues to recover, Congress must also ensure that our veterans and service personnel are not left behind. In a March 12 report, the Department of Labor found that young male veterans (those ages 18 to 24) who served since 2003 had an unemployment rate of 21.6 percent in 2009, compared to a national unemployment rate of 9.7 percent. This is simply unacceptable.

In its efforts to rectify this unemployment gap, the House recently passed several bills that would protect the financial stability of veterans and National Guard members. One bill, H.R. 3976, would extend mortgage foreclosure protections for Armed Service members and passed the House by a vote of 416 to 4. Another measure, the National Guard Employment Protection Act of 2010, would secure the jobs of National Guard members called to full-time active duty by extending protections for their employment and reemployment once they return home.

Today, we find our nation facing many daunting problems: wars in the Middle East, a fragile economy, and a growing national budget deficit. Although much work remains, I am glad to see Congress finally addressing these pressing issues.

Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Skelton’s website is at www.house.gov/skelton.

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