U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today introduced the Americans Want to Work Act. This legislation will cut taxes for businesses that hire new workers who have been looking for work the longest and provide emergency assistance for struggling families looking for work by creating an additional tier of benefits for those who have exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits. Stabenow's bill is cosponsored by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Harry Reid (D-NV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
"Across our state, more than 35,000 people who have lost their jobs have also exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits. I know that these men and women want to work and have been trying their best to find jobs in this difficult economy," said Stabenow. "My legislation cuts taxes for businesses that hire new workers who have been looking for work the longest. My bill also provides 20 more weeks of unemployment insurance to people in states like ours with the highest number of people out of work."
The Americans Want to Work Act extends through 2011 the successful HIRE Act tax credit, signed into law earlier this year, to encourage businesses to hire workers. The HIRE Act cuts payroll taxes for businesses that hire workers who have been out of work for longer than 60 days and also gives them a $1,000 general business tax credit for each worker employed for at least a year. The Stabenow bill also doubles the tax credit to $2,000 if businesses hire workers who have totally exhausted their unemployment benefits.
Recent reports from the Department of Treasury show that from February to June of this year, businesses hired approximately 5.6 million new workers who had been out of work for eight weeks or more. Michigan ranks ninth in employers who potentially qualify for HIRE Act tax exemptions, which have created about 185,163 jobs in Michigan.
The Americans Want to Work Act will also provide 20 additional weeks of unemployment insurance for individuals in states like Michigan with an unemployment rate of 7.5% or higher. This tier will benefit people who have exhausted all of their benefits. In order to receive this tier, individuals would still need to meet regular unemployment insurance law requirements.