Search Our Online Directory

More Jobs: The Message of State of Union

In his State of the Union address, President Obama stated, "jobs must be our number-one focus in 2010." He mentioned "small business" 14 times and proposed a range of measures aimed at spurring job creation.

Small Business and Job Creation President Obama proposed redirecting $30 billion in TARP funds to be used to "help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat." Small businesses are the engine of job growth, creating 64% of net new jobs over the last 15 years, according to the Small Business Administration. "Financing remains difficult for small business owners," even those that are profitable, Obama noted. Freeing up lending for them would allow businesses to create these new jobs, as would his proposal to "eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment."

Jobs Bill AKA Second Stimulus The President urged Congress to pass a second stimulus that incorporates his proposals, what he is calling a jobs bill. He noted that the House passed a bill in late 2009 and called on the Senate to follow suit. But the Senate wants to move quickly on a smaller, $81 billion measure which includes proposals like exempting companies from paying new workers' 2010 Social Security payroll tax if the new worker was previously unemployed. If the company keeps that employee for a year, it would get a $5,000 tax credit. Both of these measures encourage companies to hire unemployed workers and keep them on long-term.

The bill would likely also extend unemployment and COBRA benefits to the unemployed and may extend tax breaks for things like research and development. Another proposal is an accelerated depreciation provision that would allow companies to write off job-creating investments of up to $250,000 over one year's time. These proposals may change, however, as the bill takes shape in Senate. And anything passed would have to be reconciled with the House bill.

National Export Initiative Obama proposed his National Export Initiative which would help small businesses and farmers enter overseas markets. His goal: "We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million jobs in America." He wants to strengthen trade relations to open more markets, especially those in Asia, but specifically with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. Access to new markets would allow companies to grow and thus, spur the creation of more jobs.

Other Proposals Obama offered a range of other job creation proposals. He touted the infrastructure spending of the first stimulus, noting that it's still creating new jobs as we build "the infrastructure of tomorrow." He proposed putting "more Americans to work building clean energy facilities" and offering rebates for making homes energy-efficient. This would spur job creation in the energy-efficient market. He also proposed getting rid of tax breaks for companies that "ship our jobs overseas," instead giving them to companies that create jobs in the US.

President Obama affirmed his commitment to job creation in his State of the Union address; Congressional Democrats have echoed his sentiments. Paired with new bipartisan overtures – especially in the Senate – their focus on jobs will hopefully lift the economy for everyone.