(WASHINGTON) The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation today that marks yet another step in a series of measures to create jobs and reinvigorate our economy. Passing by a vote of 246-178, H.R. 4849, the Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Tax Act, includes provisions to spur investment in local rebuilding projects and a range of bipartisan proposals to help our small businesses grow, hire and continue to fuel our economy. H.R. 4849 also extends the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund which states can use for a jobs program to subsidize employers, including small businesses, who hire unemployed workers. This fund is currently on track to put over 160,000 Americans back to work, with more to come if extended.
“This bill is an investment in the future that will create jobs, support our small businesses and help our economy grow. I am particularly pleased that two of my priorities, protection of Private Activity Bonds and New Market Tax Credits from the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), made it into the final bill. These two provisions have created thousands of jobs and generated billions of private sector investment. With the extension of the successful Build America Bonds program, this bill will put people back to work and help boost the economy in Massachusetts and nationwide,” said Congressman Neal.
Several of the provisions in the tax bill (HR 4849, the Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Tax Act of 2010) which passed by the House today contained language authored or championed by Congressman Neal. These provisions were aimed at critical infrastructure projects at the state and local level all which are tied to job creation.
The bill passed today also includes a bill that Neal authored last year with Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), which would protect Private Activity Bonds (PAB’s) from the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). PAB’s allow states and localities raise funds for infrastructure projects and other needed services. In testimony last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation cited this provision as saving $635 million for construction projects at 38 Airports around the country, including Cleveland, Milwaukee and Houston among others.
These bonds are also used for port projects. Broward County, Florida issued $83 million in AMT-exempt bonds after the Recovery bill passed last year to fund a terminal port project in Port Everglades. Protection from the AMT saved the County $10 million while creating an estimated 2,000 jobs. States also use PAB’s for student loan financing and protection from the AMT has meant lower rates on borrowers. Over $2 billion in issuances for student loans has occurred since the Recovery bill, from Texas, Iowa, Illinois and Massachusetts, among others. Massachusetts issuances alone will provide loans to 26,000 students.
The bill passed today also included a provision for a bill Neal filed with Pat Tiberi (R-OH), which would protect the New Market Tax Credit from the AMT. Since its inception, this program has generated over $15 billion of private sector investment in some of the poorest communities in this country. Protection from AMT means that financing costs are lowered, freeing up greater investment for struggling neighborhoods.
Neal also cited the creation of Build America Bonds (BAB’s), which he worked to put in the Recovery bill last year. The University of Massachusetts building authority was first to issue BAB’s in the state, issuing $270 million worth and resulting in interest savings of $28 million over the course of the bonds. In December, the state issued almost $1 billion in BAB’s, saving $170 million in interest costs, allowing those savings to go into health care, education, and public safety.