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Obama's American Job Act could affect local employment market

American Job Act

President Obama plans to invest big money to put workers back on the job and to prevent layoffs for construction, education, law enforcement and first responder jobs. (WRDW-TV / Sept. 13, 2011)

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, Sept. 12, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- President Barack Obama is asking Congress to pass his plan for job creation, the American Jobs Act, right away.

"I don't think I have it as hard as a lot of people, but I am always looking for a part time job to keep me busy," said Esther Newman.

Newman has been unemployed for 18 months and says it is not by choice.

"This is a small town and there is not a lot of job opportunities unless you go to school," she said.

But going back to school is not a part of her plan.

"You have to keep in mind, regardless of what you are looking for, you must be qualified for that position because the market is hard right now," said Onajuanita Foster, an employment manager for Augusta-Richmond County.

Foster helps people looking for jobs in Augusta-Richmond County meet qualifications to get hired. She says lay-offs are another issue.

"We have done some reorganization and we are trying to keep people at work," she said.

That goes for President Obama, too. It is all a part of his $447 billion plan.

"I think that's an excellent idea with a lot of promise," Foster said.

For Georgia, the president's plan means tax cuts to help small businesses hire and grow. It will cut the pay tax in half to 3.1 percent for employers on the first $5 million in wages.

"If taxes are cut, yes they will be able to hire more people and to give more people opportunities to work up in their organizations and to get experience," Foster said.

The president also plans to invest big money to put workers back on the job and to prevent layoffs for construction, education, law enforcement and first responder jobs.

"A lot of people do not want to be out of work," Foster said. "They want positions and careers."

However, a new plan to rebuild the economy sounds like a hollow promise to Newman.

"Where are the jobs going come from? There isn't any more opportunity than there was last week or last year," she said.

The biggest hurdle for Congress will be the cost. The president says his plan is fully paid for, but opponents do not like that it also means higher taxers for certain groups.


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