WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2011:
“This budget is an important starting point as we work to create jobs and invest in Main Street. Job creation must lead our economic recovery, not follow it.
“The budget will promote economic development by providing critical funds for infrastructure. It will invest in small business growth and export promotion so Ohio businesses can expand operations and hire new workers. It will help our state’s manufacturers produce components for the clean energy industry and will ensure that our students are prepared for the 21st century by investing in education and workforce development. This is a blueprint for getting our economy back on track.”
An analysis of the President’s budget and its effect on Ohio follows:
Workforce Development to Support Regional, High-Growth Industries: The budget proposes key reforms for the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and also pledges $320 million for competitive grants for the most promising research-based strategies, including regional approaches and sector partnerships. Brown is the author of the “Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success” (SECTORS) Act, which complements the WIA funds by providing grants for sector partnerships among companies in high-growth industries and higher education institutions, workforce boards, and labor leaders.
Funds for Regional Innovation: Ohio is home to more than a dozen regional business incubators, and the National Business Incubation Association. The budget includes $75 million for the Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Clusters, which would award grants to clusters of businesses to promote greater coordination of resources. Brown is the author of The Business Incubator Promotion Act, which would support and create “business incubators” in hard-hit regions of Ohio and the country.
Export Promotion: The budget includes $534 million nationwide - a 20 percent increase - to launch a National Export Initiative, part of a broader federal effort to open new markets to American products and create new American jobs. Brown has been working with Senate leadership on boosting export promotion programs in an upcoming jobs package, and recently hosted an export forum in Ohio with the head of the U.S. Export-Import Bank.
Trade Enforcement: The budget includes a $12 million increase for the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs to promote labor enforcement in trade agreements. Brown is committed to protecting American businesses from unfair international trade practices, and has authored the Trade Enforcement Priorities Act, which would increase federal enforcement of trade abuses.
Supporting Small Business, Tax Relief, Creating Jobs
Extension of the “Making Work Pay Tax Credit”: More than 4.5 million middle-class Ohio households utilized this tax credit in 2009, which provided up to $400 in tax cuts for individual filers and $800 for joint filers.
Helping Small Businesses With Access to Credit: The budget includes $17.5 billion for 7(a) Small Business loan guarantees that would help small businesses expand operations and hire new workers. Brown has been leading the effort to expand small business lines of credit, and has authored the Small Business Emergency Relief Act, which would temporarily raise maximum amounts and waive certain fees for loans administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). More than 2,000 Ohio small businesses have received loans through the Recovery Act.
Help for Community Banks: The budget contains a proposal to redirect $30 billion from the TARP program to help community banks extend credit to small businesses. Community bank lending is essential because businesses need capital to meet their payrolls, make purchase orders, and hire new employees.
Brown has led the fight to create jobs and boost the American economy through innovative energy production. Ohio already ranks fourth in the nation for clean energy jobs, and Brown, who was recently described as “Congress’ leading proponent of American manufacturing,” is working to make Ohio the Silicon Valley of Clean Energy Manufacturing.
Loan Guarantees for Clean Energy Projects: The budget includes up to $5 billion in loan guarantees for innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
Funds for Clean Coal: Nearly 90 percent of Ohio’s electrical generation comes from coal. The budget includes $545 million to develop carbon capture technologies with broad applications to advanced coal power systems, existing power plants, and industrial sources.
Investments in Clean Energy and Efficiency Technology: The budget includes nearly $2.4 billion – an increase of $113 million – for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
Health Care/Consumer Safety
Alleviating Ohio’s State Budget Challenges through Increased Medicaid Assistance: The budget provides $25.5 billion for a six-month extension (through June 2011) of the temporary increase in the federal share of Medicaid spending, which would help alleviate the strain on state budgets. Ohio should save between $700 and $750 million with an extension of the Recovery Act formula.
Helping More Families Afford Child Care: The budget includes $259.2 million to help expand child care funding for working Ohio parents. Nationwide, this is the largest one-year increase of this type of funding in 20 years. The budget would also increase the child care tax break by providing a 35 percent credit for middle-class families earning up to $85,000 per year. Many middle-class families with two children would see value of the credit nearly double, from $1,200 to $2,100.
Food Safety Funds: The budget includes $1.4 billion to strengthen food safety activities at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Brown is the author of sweeping food safety legislation.
Health Coverage to Low-Income Families: The budget includes $11 billion to provide health coverage to low-income children and families in Ohio.
Rural Health Funding: The budget includes $79 million to strengthen regional and local partnerships among rural health care providers, increase the number of health care providers in rural areas, and improve the performance and financial stability of rural hospitals.
Community Health Centers: The budget includes an increase of $290 million for community health centers to help expand health care access in medically underserved parts of the country. With this increased funding, it is estimated that health centers would be able to serve a total of more than 20 million patients in Fiscal Year 2011.
NIH Funding: Ohio is home to numerous universities and research institutions that benefit from funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The budget includes an additional $1 billion for biomedical research at NIH.
Funds for Student Achievement: The budget includes $1.9 billion for Ohio to develop better teachers and classrooms to meet 21st century challenges – part of a record level of funding for the nation’s schools to foster educational excellence, improve student achievement, and reward successful outcomes to prepare our nation’s children for global competitiveness.
Expansion of the President’s Race to the Top challenge: Ohio schools are already eligible for up to $400 million of performance-based grants and have applied for the Race to the Top Challenge.
Income-Based Repayment for Student Loans: Sixty-six percent of Ohio college students obtain student loans, with an average debt of $23,854. The budget would enhance income-based repayment for educational loans – limited to ten percent of discretionary income and with forgiveness of the balance of the loan after 20 years of repayment.
Increasing Maximum Pell Grant Award: The budget raises the maximum Pell award to $5,710, and increases the funding available to Ohio students to $1.4 billion. This would help more than 338,000 students in the state to afford college.
Transportation and Infrastructure
Transportation Infrastructure: The budget includes $1.6 billion for construction and improvements to roads, highways, and airports throughout Ohio.
More Police Officers on the Street: The budget includes $600 million (a 100 percent increase over last year) to support the hiring of additional police officers across the country.
Creation of National Infrastructure Fund: The budget includes $4 billion to create a National Infrastructure Investment Fund to invest in large-scale, transformative projects of regional significance. Ohio has several competitive projects that could apply for this support.
Funds for Clean Drinking Water: The budget includes $150.8 million to modernize and expand clean, safe drinking water across Ohio, a project that would create jobs and promote economic development. At least 86 Ohio communities are in need of upgrades to their sewer systems. Along with Sen. Voinovich, Brown is the author of The Clean Water Affordability Act, which would help Ohio communities struggling to afford costly, but necessary, renovations to sewer systems.
Great Lakes: The budget includes $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Last year, Brown worked to pass $475 million to improve the quality of Lake Erie’s water and address problems such as invasive species, non-point source pollution, and contaminated sediment. The new funding would supplement and build on this effort.
Veterans / Military
Veterans Medical Care: The budget includes $60.3 billion for the Veterans Administration, with $50.6 billion in advance appropriations so that medical care for the nation’s veterans is not hindered by budget delays in Congress.
Pay Raise for Service Members: The budget includes funds for a pay raise to service members – helping to keep military pay in line with the private sector.
Piketon Cleanup: The budget includes nearly $500 million for the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, an increase of more than $175 million from the FY 2010 appropriation. Brown has been a long-time champion of accelerating the cleanup process at Portsmouth – he has successfully fought to shorten the timeframe for cleanup by more than 20 years.
Mound Site: The budget includes more than $27 million to promote the long-term safety of the Mound site.
NASA Glenn: The budget includes an increase of $580 million for aeronautics, nearly $4.2 billion for space exploration, and $572 million for space technology, all of which would benefit NASA Glenn.