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Congressman Billy Long of southwest Missouri says he will vote against President Barack Obama’s jobs package if it makes it to the House of Representatives "as is." Long says he feels it’s an expensive repeat of the earlier stimulus package, which he says was a failure. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore talked with the Congressman about his ideas for creating jobs.
“The first way that we could create jobs right now is for the president send us over his free trade agreements that are languishing in the White House. This are long overdue with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea. That’s going to put people to work immediately. That’s going to open foreign markets to our manufacturers, and to our farmers right here in the 7th district in Missouri,” Long said.
When asked how many jobs that would ultimately produce, he said the estimate for the free trade package is 250,000 jobs.
Long said he toured a manufacturing facility in Joplin two weeks ago that had just added 90 employees. He said opening overseas markets to Missouri businesses will create more jobs at facilities like that one.
The president’s plan includes several tax credits: there’s one for small businesses that would hire new employees, one for schools to hire teachers, for construction companies renovating old homes, among others.
As for paying for the $450 billion plan, the president has suggested eliminating “oil and gas subsidies”—Democrats refer to those as “loopholes” for the most profitable corporations in the world. Another part of the plan would increase income taxes on the nation’s top earners.
“I cringe every time I hear anyone talk about oil company subsidies, because there are no oil company subsidies. The tax breaks that they call them, that the oil companies get, are simply the same tax advantages, I guess you could say, for exploration and for depreciation on your equipment, for going out and creating work, and creating jobs. So to think you can take away supposed subsidies that don’t exist is a little bit ridiculous, in my opinion,” Long said.
Long added that, according to his understanding of the bill, the president’s plan would not affect large oil corporations like British Petroleum (BP) or Exxon Mobil, but rather would affect small oil producers.
As for raising income taxes on the nation’s top earners, Long said he was also against that idea.
“The top earners are generally the ones who are providing jobs. And I think the top four percent pay the majority of taxes now. And…anytime you talk about raising a taxes on job providers when we’re thinking about going between a recession and a double-dip recession is not a good strategy at all,” Long said.
Long said he has not heard much at all from his constituents either way on the president’s jobs bill.