Corporate Jobs Council On American Competitiveness To Make Recommendations.
The council, headed by numerous corporate CEOs’ that have been responsible for thousands of jobs being offshored while being in receipt advantageous taxation positions will release its 50-page report Tuesday during a meeting with Obama in Pittsburgh. Some good and some bad. It appears that infrastructure projects will not have to face the regulatory rigors pre-project start-up. On the other hand, who pays, and what if any of the expenditures are included in the recent jobs bill? We’ll know more later.
Topping the council’s list is a plea for improvements in the nation’s network of roads and bridges, for airport upgrades and modernized ports, and for updated electric grids, water and wastewater systems.
The report notes that 1 million construction workers are unemployed and points to the declining state of U.S. infrastructure. It also says that China now has six of the world’s top 10 seaports and that the United States can’t claim a single one of the other four.
It calls on Congress to reauthorize surface transportation legislation instead of simply approving temporary extensions. It proposes additional ways of leveraging private sector investment in public works projects, including a national infrastructure bank that would be seeded with public money to attract private money – a proposal that has bipartisan support.
To speed up projects, the council has recommended a streamlined approval process that prevents delays over environmental reviews or other permits.
The administration on Monday announced 14 major public works projects across the country that will receive accelerated environmental and permit reviews. The projects include replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River in New York to a wind generation project in California’s San Bernardino National Forest. It is believed that congressional approval for these projects will not be required.
Last June, Obama conceded that even public works projects financed by his 2009 economic stimulus faced permitting delays. “Shovel ready was not as shovel ready as we expected,” he said.
The administration’s goal is to complete federal review of those 14 projects within 18 months.
The projects listed by the administration include a highway connector in Provo, Utah; a 14-mile rail transit line in and around Baltimore; an Interstate 95 bridge over the Merrimack River in Massachusetts; a light rail project extension near Los Angeles International Airport; and a series of pending oil and gas applications for wells and pipelines in the Dakota Prairie and Little Missouri National Grasslands in North and South Dakota.
The jobs council’s report also calls for eased immigration rules for high-skilled foreigners, including automatic work permits or provisional visas to all foreign students after they earn science, technology, engineering or math degrees from U.S. colleges or universities.
Other recommendations include:
-Reduce regulations and providing incentives for private firms and start-ups to go public. The council said tightened regulations in the aftermath of the speculative bubble in Internet firms in the late 1990s have created unintended consequences, causing a drop in the number of initial public offerings.
-Eliminate capital gains taxes on investments of $25 million or less in a privately held company so long as that investment is held for at least five years.
-Encourage new graduates to take entrepreneurial risks by creating a student loan repayment plan based on income.