HELENA — The Obama administration rolled out state-by-state benefits of the president's jobs plan on Friday, saying 30,000 Montana businesses would see a cut in payroll taxes under the proposal and the average household in the state would see a tax cut of $1,240.
The Obama administration touted the state-specific benefits of the $447 billion jobs program of tax cuts and new spending as the president began taking his pitch directly to Americans. The centerpiece of the proposal is a reduction in the Social Security payroll tax for workers and employers.
The tax for individuals has been previously cut from 6.2 percent of wages to 4.2 percent for the current year but would rise again on Jan. 1 without action by Congress. Obama proposes cutting it further for 2012, to 3.1 percent.
The reduction also applies to employers, since they pay half. Businesses would receive additional tax breaks for hiring veterans or individuals who have been without work for more than six mont
A fact sheet distributed by the administration said the new spending portion of the proposal would provide more than $200 million for Montana transportation projects, and $90 million for Montana local governments to support about 1,400 educator and first responder jobs. Another $77 million would go to Montana for school infrastructure, $20 million to refurbish homes and $5.7 million for community colleges, the White House said.
Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg was skeptical after hearing the president's Thursday speech.
"For too long now, folks in Washington have been acting under the notion that the government creates jobs through deficit spending," Rehberg said. "If government spending was the key to job creation, the record spending of the last two years should have resulted in record employment."
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, was more receptive. He said "it's high time Congress works together to do what's best for Montana by creating jobs and moving our country forward."
U.S. Sen. Max Baucus said that Congress deliver for workers.
"Everyone agrees job-creation is the number one priority right now; our mission is clear and now it's time to act," Baucus said. "Let's put politics aside for the higher good of the country we love and the workers who are counting on us."