By Matt Reese
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited The Ohio State University to highlight what President Obama’s American Jobs Act means to Ohioans. This bipartisan legislation aims to put more people back to work and to put more money in the pockets of working Americans. It will be sent to Capitol Hill early next week and the Obama Administration will call on Congress to act on it immediately.
”There is no doubt that these have been tough times. And it’s very tough for the many Americans who are looking for work. So we’ve got to keep finding ways to help the unemployed in the short term and rebuild the middle class over the long term,” Vilsack said. “This is a short term jolt for the economy that is very much needed.”
He said that 200,000 Ohio small businesses will benefit from the tax breaks included in the package, and around $1 billion will be poured into Ohio for infrastructure improvements which could include roads, rail and locks and dams. An additional $1 billion will go to help maintain important state jobs, including educators and first responders.
In a blog post about Obama’s plan, Vilsack outlined how it is relevant for rural America.
“Too many rural areas are dealing with crumbling infrastructure. They know the benefits of rebuilding local roads, or of improving their water system. And our rural construction workers are ready to get back on the job. The small businesses that employ most rural Americans know that the tax cuts in the bill will mean more work, so they can expand and hire. And every working rural family will benefit from money back in their pockets,” Vilsack wrote. ”Small rural governments know they can use the support to keep folks on payroll. Teachers, firefighters and other first responders need to be kept on the job preparing our children for a better future and keeping our families safe. Most importantly, folks in rural America know that in difficult times, we need to come together to hammer out a solution that benefits everyone.”
Vilsack also pointed out that the plan would not contribute to the national deficit.
“Every single penny of this will be paid for,” Vilsack said. “We want to send a strong and powerful message to get the country back on track. This is built on ideas that have been celebrated by both parties.”
On his visit, Vilsack also briefly toured the facilities in the Agricultural engineering building to see many of the innovative bioproducts being developed at the University, which fit right in to the theme of his trip focused on innovative job creation.
“Ag is cool again because it is providing so much opportunity for innovation,” he said. “This is an exciting future that we saw here today. There are really significant things happening in agriculture.”