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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Stresses Importance of the American Jobs Act for Illinoisans

Press Release

Location: Springfield, IL

Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined business and community leaders to discuss the Administration's strategy to strengthen the U.S. economy and to highlight what passage of the American Jobs Act will mean for Illinoisans. Secretary Vilsack visited a recently completed transportation project that extended the existing MacArthur Boulevard and constructed a new interchange with Interstate 72, which brought new businesses to Springfield and created 500 jobs.

"The American Jobs Act provides common-sense steps we can take right now to put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans, without adding a dime to the deficit," said Vilsack. "In Illinois, this Act will provide a tax cut for over 260,000 businesses, support the jobs of 14,500 teachers and first responders and immediately provide a job for over 20,700 construction workers through infrastructure improvements. A typical household in Illinois will receive a tax cut of around $1,640."

Secretary Vilsack also highlighted a major piece of President Obama's jobs agenda - the new trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that were signed into law. In 2010, Illinois' agricultural exports totaled $4.9 billion, supporting 41,160 jobs on and off the farm. When implemented, these three agreements will increase U.S. farm exports by an additional $2.3 billion--supporting nearly 20,000 American jobs--by eliminating tariffs, removing barriers to trade and leveling the playing field for U.S. producers. Full details on the three trade agreements and comprehensive fact sheets on how the agreements will benefit Illinois are available at:

U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement Illinois Fact Sheet

U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Illinois Fact Sheet

U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Illinois Fact Sheet

The Obama Administration is calling on Congress to immediately pass the separate proposals in the American Jobs Act. The components that will create jobs and strengthen Illinois economy include:

Tax Cuts to Help America's Small Businesses Hire and Grow

* In Illinois, 260,000 firms will receive a payroll tax cut under the American Jobs Act.

Putting Workers Back on the Job While Rebuilding and Modernizing America

* At least $1,594,000,000 will be invested in Illinois for highway and transit modernization projects that could support a minimum of approximately 20,700 local jobs.
* States and localities will receive $1,235,500,000 in funds to avoid and reverse layoffs now, and support up to 14,500 educator and first responder jobs.
* Illinois will receive $1,111,600,000 in funding for school infrastructure to support as many as 14,500 jobs.
* Illinois could receive about $351,200,000 to put construction workers on the job to revitalize and refurbish local communities, in addition to funds that would be available through a competitive application.

Pathways Back to Work for Americans Looking for Jobs.

* Reforms to the unemployment insurance (UI) system could help put the 330,000 long-term unemployed workers in Illinois back to work.
* Extending unemployment insurance, could prevent 104,900 people looking for work in Illinois from losing their benefits in just the first 6 weeks.
* The President's Pathways Back to Work Fund could place 5,900 adults and 18,900 youths in jobs in Illinois.

Tax Relief for Every American Worker and Family

* If the payroll tax cut passed last December is expanded, a typical household in Illinois, with a median income of around $53,000, will receive a tax cut of around $1,640.

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