President Obama Presents Jobs Package to the Nation

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On September 7, 2011, before a joint session of Congress, President Obama outlined the details of the American Jobs Act. This act is a package of proposals designed both to spur employment but also has a number of provisions specifically of interest to MBEs. These include:

  • Extending the payroll tax cut to firms by cutting in half their payroll tax on the first $5 million in payroll. Next year, instead of paying 6.2 percent on their payroll expenses, firms would pay only 3.1 percent.

  • Extending a provision signed by the President in 2010 which would allow for 100 percent expensing through 2012. This rewards firms for making investments by allowing them to deduct the full value of those investments from their tax obligations.

  • Helping small and minority-owned firms compete for infrastructure by temporarily increasing the limit on SBA-guaranteed surety bonds from $2 million to $5 million.

  • Offering tax credits from $5,600 to $9,600 to encourage the hiring of unemployed veterans.

  • Providing a $4,000 tax credit to employers for hiring long-term unemployed workers.

  • Delaying implementation of a rule requiring government entities withhold and send to the Internal Revenue Service 3% of payments to contractors.

The next step in the process is for Congress to take up consideration of the proposal which will take place over the next several weeks.

Senate Appropriations Committee Marks-up FY 2012 Commerce Appropriations Measure

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved Commerce, Justice, Science, and other Related Agencies fiscal year (FY) 2012 funding legislation that totals $52.701 billion which represents a reduction of $626 million below the fiscal year 2011 enacted level.

For the Department of Commerce specifically, this bill provides $7.7 billion in total funding which is an increase of $111 million over FY 2011. The committee approved a funding level of $29.7 million for the Minority Business Development Agency, $2.5 million below the President’s request. The bill will be sent to the full Senate for consideration.