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Dem lawmaker: Obama’s jobs bill would mean more Az teachers

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Dem lawmaker: Obama’s jobs bill would mean more Az teachers

  • State Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, is touting President Barack Obama’s job bill.
    Jorge Salazar/Cronkite News ServiceState Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, is touting President Barack Obama’s job bill.

Thousands of Arizona educators laid off in recent budget cuts could be reinstated if Congress passes President Barack Obama’s new jobs bill, a Democratic state lawmaker said Wednesday.

“That’s critical because the Arizona governor and Republicans continue to make deep, deep cuts to higher education,” said Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix.

Sinema joined Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Jean Quan, mayor of Oakland, Calif., in a conference call touting what they said would be the benefits of Obama’s American Jobs Act.

In Arizona, Sinema said, the act would fund hiring of 9,700 educators, she said.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that Arizona school districts cut more than 10,000 employees, including 6,640 instructors, between March 2009 and March 2010.

Sinema, citing record-high unemployment numbers and a poverty level of 18.6 percent, said the legislation’s “pathways back to work” and infrastructure projects would create jobs for residents of the state hit hard by the real estate bust.

The act’s incentives for small businesses, including payroll tax cuts and tax credits, she said, were “one of the smartest things we can do” to hire and reach pre-recession level employment.

Sinema said payroll taxes of 110,000 small businesses in Arizona would decrease.

The jobs bill would also extend temporary payroll tax cuts to workers, granting a family with Arizona’s median household income of around $46,000 tax cuts of about $1,430, the White House contends in a fact sheet.

“This bill provides something that Arizonans need desperately every day, which is more money in their pockets,” Sinema said.

Byron Schlomach, chief economist for the Goldwater Institute, an independent watchdog group that promotes limited government and free enterprise, said the impact would be much less significant.

“There are some tax provisions in the American Jobs Act that generally, I would think, would have some positive effects, but they’re mostly short term,” Schlomach said.

The payroll tax cut, for example, wouldn’t stimulate job growth in the long term, Schlomach said, because companies won’t hire more people based on temporary tax changes.

“Nobody believes that’s going to go on forever,” he said.

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