Rawlings-Blake says Obama bill would fight poverty

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake responded to a Census report Thursday showing growing poverty in Baltimore with another call to support President Barack Obama’s jobs bill.

“The Great Recession has hit America’s cities particularly hard with higher unemployment rates, and the tough economy has pushed more families into poverty,” Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. “That is why Republicans in Congress must work now to pass the American Jobs Act.”

The Census reported Thursday that more than one in four Baltimoreans is living in poverty. That’s an increase of more than 20 percent in the last year.

Obama’s llegislation would cut payroll taxes for employers and employees and pump $100 billion of new infrastructure spending into the economy. It has met opposition from GOP lawmakers, who object to the payroll tax cut, the stimulus spending and Obama’s plan to fund it in part by raising taxes on the wealthy.

Rawlings-Blake joined mayors from across the country earlier this week to lobby Washington in support of the $447 billion package. They met at the White House on Tuesday with National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling and senior advisor David Plouffe.

In her statement, Rawlings Blake said the American Jobs Act would “cut payroll taxes for Baltimore families — keeping more money in their paychecks; extend unemployment benefits for Baltimoreans looking for jobs; create new tax incentives for small businesses to create jobs; build or renovate thousands of new schools in America’s poorest school districts—immediately creating new construction jobs; and fund rehabilitation and demolition of vacant buildings in struggling neighborhoods.“Families in Baltimore and throughout the country are hurting and struggling everyday to stay afloat, and just saying ‘no’ to the American Jobs Act is not an option,” she said. “Failure to act only means more families will fall behind and slip into poverty. It is time for Congress to act now and pass this bill to create more job opportunities for Baltimore families.”

Gov. Martin O'Malley said Wednesday that he also is considering jobs legislation for the special session of the General Assembly next month.

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