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Democrats Announce First Phase of Job Creation Legislation

Thursday, October 6th, 2011


jobs tour

Democrats announce first phase of jobs package to put Tennesseans back to work.

 

Plan includes $15 million investment in state technology centers

NASHVILLE – Tennessee House and Senate Democrats announced the first phase of their job creation plan Thursday, which includes calling for $15 million for new equipment and program expansion at the state’s 27 technology centers.

“We heard about the success of our skills training across the state during our jobs tour, but the one thing we heard again and again was the need for more skilled workers,” said House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh. “This investment would enable our technology centers to train more workers faster and get them a good education with an even better job.”

The state’s technology centers’ average completion rate is 75 percent, and the job placement rate is 85 percent. They have been recognized as a national model, but currently only 4 percent of all higher education students in Tennessee attend a technology center.

“The thousands of manufacturing jobs that have come back to Tennessee need a highly skilled workforce. We have the structure to provide that workforce, but we must provide the resources to meet the capacity needs,” said House Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh. Now is the time to make this investment, because it will pay dividends for our workers and our state for a generation.”

Other legislation discussed by Democrats Thursday included:

  • The creation of a commercial properties database for prospective employers to quickly identify potential areas for relocation and expansion;
  • Doubling the capacity of the West Tennessee solar farm by 2013 to keep up with national competition;
  • Providing small businesses a sales tax holiday of up to $5,000 for equipment purchases and upgrades;
  • Fully funding the West Tennessee megasite, in order to give the Grand Division the same opportunities afforded Chattanooga with Volkswagen and Clarksville with Hemlock;
  • Providing a New Entrepreneur Tax Credit for new business owners to recover startup and expansion costs; and
  • A program modeled after the Georgia Works initiative that allows employers to train Tennesseans receiving unemployment benefits, with the goal of providing trainees expanded job opportunities and the potential for a full-time job.

Democrats noted that the initiatives discussed Thursday were only the first phase of an ongoing, bipartisan process to identify ways state government can play a role in job creation.

“We are in a jobs crisis right now, and we need all hands on deck to help sail the ship through these choppy waters,” said Senate Democratic Chairman Lowe Finney. “It’s going to take all of us working together to put Tennesseans back to work.”

 

 

Democrats Announce First Phase of Job Creation Legislation

Thursday, October 6th, 2011


jobs tour

Democrats announce first phase of jobs package to put Tennesseans back to work.

 

Plan includes $15 million investment in state technology centers

NASHVILLE – Tennessee House and Senate Democrats announced the first phase of their job creation plan Thursday, which includes calling for $15 million for new equipment and program expansion at the state’s 27 technology centers.

“We heard about the success of our skills training across the state during our jobs tour, but the one thing we heard again and again was the need for more skilled workers,” said House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh. “This investment would enable our technology centers to train more workers faster and get them a good education with an even better job.”

The state’s technology centers’ average completion rate is 75 percent, and the job placement rate is 85 percent. They have been recognized as a national model, but currently only 4 percent of all higher education students in Tennessee attend a technology center.

“The thousands of manufacturing jobs that have come back to Tennessee need a highly skilled workforce. We have the structure to provide that workforce, but we must provide the resources to meet the capacity needs,” said House Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh. Now is the time to make this investment, because it will pay dividends for our workers and our state for a generation.”

Other legislation discussed by Democrats Thursday included:

  • The creation of a commercial properties database for prospective employers to quickly identify potential areas for relocation and expansion;
  • Doubling the capacity of the West Tennessee solar farm by 2013 to keep up with national competition;
  • Providing small businesses a sales tax holiday of up to $5,000 for equipment purchases and upgrades;
  • Fully funding the West Tennessee megasite, in order to give the Grand Division the same opportunities afforded Chattanooga with Volkswagen and Clarksville with Hemlock;
  • Providing a New Entrepreneur Tax Credit for new business owners to recover startup and expansion costs; and
  • A program modeled after the Georgia Works initiative that allows employers to train Tennesseans receiving unemployment benefits, with the goal of providing trainees expanded job opportunities and the potential for a full-time job.

Democrats noted that the initiatives discussed Thursday were only the first phase of an ongoing, bipartisan process to identify ways state government can play a role in job creation.

“We are in a jobs crisis right now, and we need all hands on deck to help sail the ship through these choppy waters,” said Senate Democratic Chairman Lowe Finney. “It’s going to take all of us working together to put Tennesseans back to work.”

 

 

House, Senate Dems announce statewide jobs tour Sept. 19-24

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Tennessee’s House and Senate Democratic Caucuses announced Wednesday that their members will embark on a six-day tour across the state Sept. 19-24 to talk to business owners, local officials and the public about how to best grow jobs in Tennessee. 

“Across the country and here in Tennessee, we are stuck in a jobs crisis, and it’s going to take everyone working together to get us out of it,” said House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh. “Jobs are the number one priority for Tennesseans, and they also must be the top priority for their elected officials.”

Members will begin the tour Monday, Sept. 19, in Memphis, with stops throughout rural and urban areas across the state (see schedule below). The tour will end Saturday, Sept. 24, in Putnam and Smith Counties.

The unemployment rate in Tennessee currently sits at 9.8 percent, meaning more than 306,000 Tennesseans are looking for jobs and can’t find one. County unemployment rates are as high as 19.8 percent.

“People want their lawmakers to do something to combat the unemployment crisis, especially in rural areas that have been hit the hardest,” said State Senator Eric Stewart. “There’s a lot we can learn from going out there and listening to the people who are creating jobs, as well as the people who are looking for jobs.”

The tour will include several discussions and events open to the public, as well as daily press briefings and updates through traditional and social media. Members participating on the tour have pledged to use the feedback they receive on the tour to draft legislation directly addressing job growth throughout the state.

“The tour is our opportunity to listen, gather ideas and make decisions on what we can do as a state legislature to promote jobs in Tennessee,” Fitzhugh said. “We hope it will mark the beginning of a sustained focus on jobs and economic growth from all of our elected officials as we enter the next legislative session.”

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Day 1 (Monday, Sept. 19): Corporate Partnerships Day (Shelby & Haywood) 

  • 8 a.m. Kickoff at the University of Memphis with Corporate Jobs Roundtable
  • 1 p.m. Tour of West Tennessee Megasite with Mayor Franklin Smith
  • 2 p.m. Tour of West Tennessee Solar Farm with Mayor Franklin Smith

Day 2 (Tuesday, Sept. 20): Small Business Day (Madison & Weakley)

  • 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. Drop-ins at small businesses in Madison County
  • Noon – 2 p.m. Drop-ins at small businesses in Weakley County

Day 3 (Wednesday, Sept. 21): Technical Jobs Day (Rutherford & Maury)

  • Morning: Tour of Nissan LEAF Plant in Rutherford County
  • Noon – 2 p.m. Technical Jobs Roundtable at Columbia State Community College
  • 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Drop-ins at Maury County small businesses

Day 4 (Thursday, Sept. 22): Green Jobs Day (Warren & Hamilton)

  • 7 a.m. Breakfast at Tennessee State University Nursery Research Center in McMinnville
  • 8 a.m. Meet with nurserymen and tour Otis Floyd Research Center
  • Noon: Tour of Chattanooga State Community College
  • 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Tour new energy businesses in Chattanooga

Day 5 (Friday, Sept. 23): Research/Education Jobs Day (Knox)

  • 8 a.m. Breakfast with Councilmember Brenda Palmer and small business owners
  • 10 a.m. Business Round Table at the Chamber of Commerce
  • Noon – 2 p.m. Drop-ins at small businesses in Knox County
  • 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Meet w/Piper Communications to discuss growing the clean energy sector

Day 6 (Saturday, Sept. 24): Ecotourism Jobs Day (Putnam & Smith)

  • 8 a.m. Breakfast at Dipsy Doodle in Putnam County
  • 10 a.m. – Noon: Drop-ins at small businesses in Cookeville
  • 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Tour of Catesa Farms in Smith County

 

Tennessee Democratic Caucus: House, Senate Dems announce statewide jobs tour.

House Democrats: Don’t Change Our Economic Viability

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Bredesen Administration, House Leadership Boosts Tennessee to Sixth in Nation

(Nashville) – Tennessee jumped to sixth in the nation in economic growth last year and House Democrats are calling on the new Republican majority to keep in place the current job recruitment and economic development structure.

Tennessee accomplished stellar economic improvement last year moving up to sixth out of the 50 states in gross state product, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

“This is something that we’ve worked on for years through fiscally conservative budgeting and steady global and national job recruitment,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory). “When we bring jobs to this state, naturally, working families are going to contribute to a more vibrant economy.”

The Republican Majority has laid off 60 employees in the state Economic and Community Development department, while deciding that the state’s focus should be diverted from global and national company recruitment. The department was instrumental in recruiting thousands of jobs through global and national company recruitment, including the likes of Volkswagen, Nissan, Dow Hemlock, Wacker Chemie and SAIC.

“This new announcement by the Bureau of Economic Analysis is very revealing and it shows that what we’ve been doing over the last decade or so is working,” said House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley). “To change this positive budget and job recruitment philosophy is the wrong thing to do right now; we need more jobs and we need them now.”

House Democrats, which ran the Finance Committee and carried Gov. Phil Bredesen’s jobs packages over the last eight years, were very successful in bringing jobs back to Tennessee.

Last year, Site Selection magazine ranked Tennessee the second best state for business climate, corporate investment and job creation. Southern Business and Development magazine ranked Tennessee co-state of the year for economic development and Chief Executive Officer magazine said Tennessee was the third best place to do business.

“The economic development path paved by the Bredesen administration is working. At the risk of our state losing jobs, now is not the time to stray from a path proven to produce results,” said Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington).