Obama says jobs plan could add thousands of education and infrastructure positions in Florida

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Monday, September 12, 2011 at 4:11 pm | More from The Florida Independent
A state-by-state look at the American Jobs Act, which President Obama presented to Congress last week, shows that Florida could gain thousands of education and infrastructure jobs. However, state GOP policymakers are already showing early signs that they might not participate in the president’s efforts.

According to an impact report (.pdf) released by the White House:

The President’s plan includes $50 billion in immediate investments for highways, transit, rail and aviation, helping to modernize an infrastructure that now receives a grade of “D” from the American Society of Civil Engineers and putting hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job. Of the investments for highway and transit modernization projects, the President’s plan will make immediate investments of at least $1,578,600,000 in Florida that could support a minimum of approximately 20,500 local jobs.

The President is proposing to invest $35 billion to prevent layoffs of up to 280,000 teachers, while supporting the hiring of tens of thousands more and keeping cops and firefighters on the job. These funds would help states and localities avoid and reverse layoffs now, and will provide $1,669,500,000 in funds to Florida to support up to 25,900 educator and first responder jobs.

The President is proposing a $25 billion investment in school infrastructure that will modernize at least 35,000 public schools – investments that will create jobs, while improving classrooms and upgrading our schools to meet 21st century needs. Florida will receive $1,280,300,000 in funding to support as many as 16,600 jobs.

Already, though, state legislators are dismissing the President’s plan.

Florida Today reports that “Gov. Rick Scott and top Florida Republicans are sending early signals they could reject the billions in federal aid that could flow to the state under President Barack Obama’s jobs proposal”:

Florida has a 10.7 percent unemployment rate that is higher than the national average. But Scott and GOP legislative leaders said the plan outlined by President Barack Obama was too similar to the nearly $800 billion stimulus package that was approved by Congress back in 2009.

“It sounds like President Obama still doesn’t get it,” House Speaker Dean Cannon said Friday. “The answer to the current economic problems is not spending more money.”

While Scott has not taken an absolute stance against all stimulus-related aid, a spokesman said Friday that the governor would be opposed to any additional federal spending if it added to the federal debt. Obama said that he would propose additional budget savings in order to pay for his jobs plan.

The Legislature has already made it clear that it will stand in the way of federal grants if they contradict their political ideology. The state has so far rejected millions from the Affordable Care Act that were awarded to the state.

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