Monday, December 22, 2008

Information from Senator Bob Casey

Hi everyone,

As we have noted, U.S. Senator Bob Casey gave a presentation to Lehigh Valley business leaders last week. We spoke with the Senator's office, and they were nice enough to give us permission to share the presentation with all of our readers. What is below is an abbriviated version of that presentation. It has some very interesting information on Northampton County and Senator Casey's plans for economic recovery. Please note that some of the formatting has been changed in order to fit properly into a blog entry, and that any errors in the presentation because of formatting changes are our responsibility.
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U.S. Senator Bob Casey
THE PENNSYLVANIA JOBS INITIATIVE


A SHORT-TERM ECONOMIC RECOVERY PLAN

and

A LONG-TERM ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS AGENDA

Economic Roundtable Goals
Discussion of how the economic downturn is affecting Northampton County

Outline of Congressional Action to Date in response to the economic situation

Senator Casey’s plan for helping Northampton County families

Senator Casey’s agenda for creating a 21st Century workforce in Northampton County

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Population Growth in Northampton County
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Population Estimates, Census 2000, 1990 Census

Northampton County’s population has increased by 46,417 residents in less than two decades
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Leading Economic Indicators in the Lehigh Valley

Unemployment in the Lehigh Valley is up from 4.5 percent in October 2007 to 6.0 percent in October 2008.
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Leading Economic Indicators in Northampton County

Pennsylvania currently ranks 35th in the nation in the number of foreclosure filings

Number of foreclosure filings in recent years
2006: 673

2007: 874

2008 (thru Aug.): 768 (projected rate): 1,154
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Responding to the Economic Downturn
Senator Casey’s efforts to help families during the economic downturn

Supported extending unemployment insurance, secured housing counseling funding to help keep struggling borrowers in their homes, and introduced legislation to combat predatory mortgage lending

Demanded taxpayer protections and limits on executive compensation in the financial recovery package. Both provisions were later included in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

Called on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to declare a temporary moratorium on all impending foreclosures.  Fannie and Freddie have since announced that they would suspend all foreclosures until January 9, 2009

Co-sponsored the Preventing Student Loan Discrimination Act, in response to reports that student lenders were denying financial assistance to students because they attended community colleges or sought to obtain two-year degrees
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THE CASEY PLAN FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY
Targeted Investments that will Create Jobs

Rebuilding Our Transportation and Water Infrastructure - Countless studies have demonstrated that every $1 billion in new infrastructure spending creates tens of thousands of new jobs. The recovery package should make funding available to states for “ready-to-go” highways, bridges, mass transit, airports, rail, and port projects. The package should also include new funding to help states and local municipalities begin work today on water and sewer projects that will both create jobs and clean up our water.

Revitalizing Communities - To help states and local communities speed completion of “ready-to-go” economic development projects that will bring new jobs and revitalize towns and neighborhoods, the recovery package should include significant new funding for federal economic development programs
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THE CASEY PLAN FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY
Targeted Investments that will Create Jobs

Supporting Small Businesses –To help small businesses compete, we should increase the availability of microloans for prospective small businesses; extend the business investment tax deduction; and establish a loan program for small businesses involved in technology development.

Strengthening the Manufacturing Sector - In order to help the manufacturing sector adapt to changing markets, we should immediately inject more funding into the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program.

Protecting Communities – In light of the revenue shortfalls hitting municipalities and the direct correlation between economic slowdowns and crime rates, we should immediately increase funding for federal programs that support local law enforcement.
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ENSURING LONG-TERM COMPETITIVENESS

Preparing Our Workforce to compete in the Global Economy

Strategic Investments in Workers and Students - We need to (1) invest in early childhood education; (2) strengthen the K-12 system; and (3) improve the affordability of and access to higher education for all high school graduates, from those who will enter technical trade programs or community college, to those who will attend traditional academic institutions.

21st Century Health Care: We must work to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health care. Unmet health care needs create ripple effects across the economy, costing employers in lost productivity and imposing greater long-term health care costs

Innovative Technology Investments: Much of our broadband and information technology must be updated and upgraded to keep American companies ahead of their competitors around the world. We must begin to meet this challenge.

Green Jobs and Green Technologies - We should invest in workers by providing high quality skills of tomorrow, invest in research and development of new, clean energy sources. We can simultaneously combating climate change and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
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