Jobs & The Economy
Our economic recovery is still fragile – and too many middle class families are still feeling the squeeze of stagnant wages and slow economic growth. Creating jobs and encouraging economic growth is my number one priority in Washington.
Putting Iowans Back to Work
It goes without saying that America's small businesses are the backbone of our economy. As we continue to develop policies to strengthen our economy and put America's middle class families back to work, small business development will be one of the keys to our success, especially in Iowa.
In 2010, President Obama signed into law a bill based on the Back to Work Act, a bill I introduced to spur small business job creation by cutting payroll taxes for small business owners who hired previously unemployed workers. The bill exempts small businesses from paying the employer’s share of the social security tax for the rest of 2010 if they hire workers who have been unemployed for more than 60 days prior to employment. Data shows that over 100,000 Iowans were hired by employers who utilized this tax credit.
This year, I introduced the Main Street Stabilization Act, legislation that would expand services offered at Iowa’s fifteen Small Business Development Centers, support centers that provide customized and confidential business advice to any business, or potential business, in Iowa with 500 employees or less.
I’ve also introduced the Support Our Startups Act, legislation that would expand a popular tax deduction for small business startup expenses. Current law allows entrepreneurs starting a small business to claim a $5,000 income tax deduction when total startup business costs do not exceed $50,000. Braley’s Support Our Startups Act would double the tax deduction to $10,000.
Reducing Unreasonable Regulations that Hamper Job Creation
I’ve worked to promote policies that reduce, and simplify, government regulations.
On October 13, 2010 President Obama signed the Plain Writing Act into law. The bill requires the federal government to write documents, such as small business contracting forms and tax returns, in simple easy-to-understand language – a practice that will save small businesses time and money. Small businesses lose time and money because government forms are too complicated. Iowa small businesses deserve a government that reduces barriers to hiring, not creates more burdens through paperwork.
The next step is the Plain Regulations Act, a bill that would require the federal government to write new and updated regulations in clear, simple language. The National Small Business Association estimates that businesses with less than 20 employees pay an estimated $7,600 per employee to comply with government regulations. Any steps we can take to reduce those costs and simplify government regulations means small businesses can use those savings to hire more workers or reinvest in their business.
I’ve also taken on burdensome, one-size-fits-all regulations that threaten Iowa jobs. In 2012, I worked with a Republican from Georgia to reverse burdensome government regulations on refrigerated deli-style display cases that threatened the future of their manufacture in the United States. Lennox Industries, Inc., which makes the deli-style display cases covered by the regulation, has a manufacturing facility in Marshalltown, Iowa, that employs about 1,000 people. Our efforts to reverse the regulation helped protect those Iowa manufacturing jobs.
Reviving American Manufacturing
America once led the world in manufacturing, but over the last decade, we’ve lost millions of manufacturing jobs. Since 2001, Iowa alone has lost over 32,000 manufacturing jobs. Nationwide, we’ve lost over 62,000 manufacturing facilities in the same time period – each of which would have employed hundreds or even thousands of Americans.
To rebuild the American middle class and restore our economy, we must be a country that builds things again. That’s why we need a forward-thinking manufacturing strategy that puts American workers and consumers first.
I’m promoting legislation to reinvest in American manufacturing. The National Manufacturing Strategy Act would develop a national plan to create new manufacturing jobs in the United States. It would require the President to establish a Manufacturing Strategy Board within the Commerce Department. The Board would consist of federal officials, two state Governors from different political parties, and nine private-sector leaders and stakeholders from the manufacturing industry. This bill is the first step to creating stable, good-paying manufacturing jobs for middle class workers right here in America.
Investing in Clean Energy to Spur Job Creation
Investment in wind, biofuels, and other clean energy is crucial not just to Iowa’s economy, but also to our country as a whole. In 2012, I fought hard to ensure an extension of the Wind Production Tax Credit, which is critical to the Iowa economy. We passed a 1-year extension of the tax credit, so that it’s available to wind energy producers through the end of 2013. This is a victory, but it means we have to continue the fight to keep this incentive for wind energy, and the jobs that the wind industry creates in Iowa. Anybody who’s spent time driving around the state has seen the wind turbines up and running, and creating clean energy and economic opportunity at the same time.
I also believe that by continuing to invest in biofuels in new and innovative ways, we can lower the price of gas across the country and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This is a win-win for all Americans: lower gas prices plus more homegrown fuel. The biofuels industry accounts for thousands of Iowa jobs, and I’ll keep working to make sure we grow our economy and create long-term, good-paying jobs in Iowa and all over America.