Sen. Marc Keahey, Sen. Cam Ward, Rep. Joe Hubbard, and Rep. John Merrill will be blogging here during the 2011 Legislative Session.

Republicans Against Highway Jobs Bill

At this very moment, Republican Senators are fulfilling a pledge that they made on Tuesday to filibuster today to block passage of the Senate Democratic Caucus plan to create jobs and improve our roads and bridges.  Senate Bill 121 will invest $1 billion dollars in road and bridge construction and create approximately 30,000 new jobs without raising a dime of taxes–not one thin dime.  Republican Senators say that they are opposed to this plan and have offered their alternative–Senate Bill 229 by Senator Del Marsh.  Senate Bill 229 proposes to give county commissions the right to raise gasoline taxes by up to 5 cents per gallon.

***Senator Zeb Little is from Cullman, Alabama and serves as the Senate Majority Leader.  To learn more about Senator Little, please go to:  www.zeblittle.com

6 comments to Republicans Against Highway Jobs Bill

  • JD

    Sounds just like the RoboCall I got last night, almost word for word. Where does the General Fund replace the lost interest it recieves from the Oil & Gas Trust? Still have to pay all those state employess.

    The Trust Fund was set up to keep Senators like Barron & Little from taking our Grandchildren’s Future to buy votes in an Election year.

  • The bill you reference is a bad bill. It takes about half of the money from the ALabama Trust Fund to spend it on road and bridge construction. It is being sold as “jobs bill”… seems like a no-brainer, right? More construction work on roads and bridges means more jobs, right?

    Only it didn’t work that way for the national stimulus bill. All the highway projects resulted in very few new jobs created.
    http://politicsalabama.blogspot.com/2010/01/hows-that-stimulus-working-for-us.html

    “Spend a lot or spend nothing at all, it didn’t matter, the AP analysis showed: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless of how much stimulus money Washington poured out for transportation, raising questions about Obama’s argument that more road money would address an “urgent need to accelerate job growth”.”

    If the construction spending didn’t create jobs in the stimulus package, why would it suddenly work differently?

    This will end up with $1 trillion spend but make no change in our unemployment rate. This is a bad deal.

  • Tom the Beer Man

    In all fairness to the “jobs created” idea, they National stimulus poured the bulk of its monies into insulation for unemployment, social programs, housing assistance for those who lost their mortgages, etc… Those who were willing to work the contruction jobs were hired, those who were not, we’re let go. Go by you’re local fast food restaurant if you are having trouble seeing my point. Our local businesses have completely changed… I no longer hear poor language or have to put up with filthy dining areas. Interestingly enough as the joke went, the manager is a Dr. and the fry cook is an engineer, but in our case the manager of the local joint is a speech pathologist! These people may not like their jobs, but they are happy to be employeed and work to stay that way.

    Back to your point, this is a bad bill. Yes it may spur isolated economic development, but you’d get more bang for your buck by encouraging the private sector to jump back into the market. State legislators don’t have the full power needed to do that… It’s all about banking, or at the very least changing the cult of credit.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Givens,

    The stimulus money for job creation has only just now been getting to the states. The stimulus isn’t expected to create jobs until about the middle of this year. As Tom points out, most of the money that has been spent so far has been to mitigate the effects of the recession.

    Ask anyone who works as an engineer for the state or local governments. They haven’t gotten the money yet. And without money in hand, they obviously can’t start any projects.

  • AJ of Loxley

    I think Tom was pointing out that the stimulus wasn’t intended to “stimulate” the economy, it was designed to insulate out of work individuals in a recession. You have a hard time doing both.

    I have spoken with both public and private engineers and the stimulus is considered a sham by most. The projects created were limited to plans already developed, and most were updated in house by the state department of transportation. If the intent was to stimulate the private sector, why is the bulk of the work being performed by the state?

    Anony, I’m reluctant to believe that another billion in state road improvements will spur economic growth in alabama. If you were to tell me that the state was going to revamp the insurance industry in Alabama I think we’d have something to talk about. We’re not fat cats from Baldwin County, most of us feel like we’ve been treated like malnourished strays.

  • Did you read the link in my original reply? Or better yet, the news article linked FROM there? Because if you had, you’d have known that what I referred to was an analysis of ACTUAL spending from the stimulus bill on transportation projects.

    “Ten months into President Obama’s first economic stimulus plan, a surge in spending on roads and bridges has had no effect on local unemployment and only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, an Associated Press analysis has found.

    “Spend a lot or spend nothing at all, it didn’t matter, the AP analysis showed: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless of how much stimulus money Washington poured out for transportation, raising questions about Obama’s argument that more road money would address an “urgent need to accelerate job growth”.”

    Want more details from the AP analysis?

    For its analysis, the AP examined the effects of road and bridge spending in communities on local unemployment; it did not try to measure results of the broader aid that also was in the first stimulus like tax cuts, unemployment benefits or money for states.

    “My bottom line is, I’d be skeptical about putting too much more money into a second stimulus until we’ve seen broader effects from the first stimulus,” said Aaron Jackson, a Bentley University economist who reviewed AP’s analysis.

    Even within the construction industry, which stood to benefit most from transportation money, the AP’s analysis found there was nearly no connection between stimulus money and the number of construction workers hired or fired since Congress passed the recovery program.

    The effect was so small, one economist compared it to trying to move the Empire State Building by pushing against it.

    “As a policy tool for creating jobs, this doesn’t seem to have much bite,” said Emory University economist Thomas Smith, who supported the stimulus and reviewed AP’s analysis. “In terms of creating jobs, it doesn’t seem like it’s created very many. It may well be employing lots of people but those two things are very different.”

    Essentially, none of the spending affected the unemployment rate. Now please tell me WHY similar spending by Alabama State government will be different?

    It won’t.

    The best way to create private-sector jobs is to help companies in tanglible ways. No temporary tax credits or other gimmicks, but on tax reductions.

    This is a significant recession, and there is no way out without pain. I just happen to think that government can’t spend the private sector out of recession. It doesn’t work, and it wastes a lot of money along the way.

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