As a result of revenue and fiscal constraints, local governments have been dealing with cutbacks and layoffs in an effort to reconcile budgets. The Local Jobs for America Act (H.R. 4812) is a legislative proposal that would provide local governments with monetary assistance in the retention and hiring of employees. NACo’s Associate Legislative Director Deseree Gardner outlined as follows:
“Provides $75 billion over two years to local governments, community-based organizations, and states to save and create local jobs
- The funding distribution mechanism is based on the Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG) — every city or county with a population of 50,000 or more would be eligible to receive direct funding. Local governments with a population below 50,000 would also be eligible to receive funding, only passed through states
- As with CDBG, 70 percent of the funding would be for direct entitlement communities, and 30 percent would be for state pass-through
- Though the distribution mechanism is based on CDBG (process), the formula is not the same. This formula is based on unemployment numbers (50 percent), poverty level (25 percent) and population (25 percent)
- Half of the funding can be used to retain employees who might otherwise lose their jobs because of budget shortfalls
- 25 percent can be given to local community-based organizations to hire employees to provide services or functions not customarily provided by local government employees
- 5 percent of the funding can be used for administration of the program.
- This program has no local match requirement
- There is no requirement to retain employees once the funding runs out. There would be two years of funding, and then it would be up to a city or county to retain employees funded by the program
- Employees would have to be hired full time with benefits, under existing contracts or agreements. The federal funding can be used to cover all costs, including salaries and benefits, and
- There is no cap on per-employee costs, however no more than 20 percent of the funds can be used for management employees”
The House Education and Labor Committee has released estimates of the number of jobs in both the private and public sectors that H.R. 4812 could be created or saved if passed. Those estimates can be found on the committee’s website.