Local News Noise & Notes Politics

McConnell Shreds Obama “To-Do” List

In a Senate floor speech Thursday, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell lectured President Obama for pushing a “to-do” list on Congress.

Earlier this week, Mr. Obama delivered a speech unveiling a five-point package of previously announced proposals as unfinished business for lawmakers to accomplish. Among the president’s measures are mortgage relief for homeowners, clean energy manufacturing and eliminating incentives for businesses that ship jobs overseas.

But McConnell says the GOP caucus in the House and Senate has acted on legislation, including dozens of similar bills.

“So I have a suggestion—instead of focusing on his political Post-It note checklist, the president and Senate Democrats should show some leadership and work with Republicans to move on critical pro-growth bills. These proposals will help provide certainty and provide a much-needed boost to our economy,” he says.

Local News

U of L Researchers Develop New Measurement for Logistics Industry Health

Researchers at the University of Louisville have developed a calculation that they say could give shipping and manufacturing businesses better insight into how they’ll perform in the future.

The Logistics and Distribution Index, or LoDI, measures traffic on rivers, rails, roads and runways and uses the data to generate a number between one and one hundred. The higher the number, the healthier a region’s logistics industry.

“Because this number is an indicator of logistics and distribution activity in the upcoming month or quarter, companies can look at this number and see if there’s an uptick, maybe they will get ready for some additional hiring,” says Sunderesh Heragu, who helped develop LoDI.

Local News Politics

Indiana Lawmakers Likely To Revisit “Right-To-Work”

An Indiana legislative study committee is recommending that the full General Assembly again take up a so-called right-to-work proposal next year.

The issue sparked a walkout by House Democrats during the 2011 session.

The study panel voted 5-4 along party lines to accept a report that urges passage of right-to-work legislation. The Republican-led proposal would prohibit companies from making the payment of union dues a condition of employment.

Democratic Senator Karen Tallian says she rejects the GOP position that it would spur job creation in the state.

We all know what this is, it’s a big stick to bust unions. And that means one thing. It means concentration of power,” she said.

Republican Representative Jerry Torr argues that right-to-work would strengthen unions by making them more responsive to their membership.

“In a right to work state, the unions have to sell membership to the members. They have to show value,” said Torr.

Democrats on the panel stopped short of saying the legislation would prompt another boycott. House business was stalled for five-weeks during the last session when the chamber’s Democrats fled to Illinois.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

Mayor’s Office Celebrates New Jobs as Piecemeal Recovery Continues

A metal company will bring part of its roofing production business to Louisville and create 23 new jobs. That’s enough to earn praise from city officials.

The payroll for the jobs at Drexel Metals will be $1.5 million. The company has been offered half a million dollars in tax breaks over ten years to create the work.

The announcement comes as Louisville slowly climbs out of a decade of job loss. The city shed more than 30,000 jobs from 2000 to 2010, but federal statistics show that trend reversing at an uncertain pace. Six thousand jobs have been added to the metro area since April. Mayor’s spokesman Chris Poynter says small business jobs are essential as the city attempts to piece together a recovery.

“You have to look at this from all angles—we have the big numbers with Ford and GE, where you’re talking thousands of jobs and hundreds of jobs. That’s on one end. On the other end, you have the small 20 here, 30 there, 40 there, 50 there,” he says. “If you actually look at our job creation in the city, most people are employed by small businesses. Though it doesn’t look like a lot, 20 here or 30 there, when you add it up, it is a significant number of jobs.

Poynter adds that hundreds of jobs have been added at Ford and GE recently. Since April, federal statistics show that roughly six thousand jobs have been added to the regional economy.

Local News Politics

GOP Senators Release Jobs Plan

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is leading a group of Republican lawmakers in promoting an alternative to the president’s jobs plan.

Today, Paul joined his Senate colleagues John McCain of Arizona and Rob Portman of Ohio in releasing the Jobs Through Growth Act. It’s a response to President Barack Obama’s “American Jobs Act,” which called for, among other measures, investments in infrastructure, a payroll tax cut and billions in state fiscal aid.

The GOP bill combines several conservative proposals, including cuts to labor and environmental regulations, lower corporate and individual tax rates and a balanced budget amendment.

Here and Now

Jobs Bill Faces Defeat in Senate, Tech Companies Find Workers Overseas, Attorney General Candidate Todd P’Pool: Today on Here and Now

Democrats are trying to snatch victory from the jaws of almost certain defeat today, as the Senate is poised vote down the President’s $447 billion jobs bill. As that curtain falls, Democrats are scrambling to save parts of the plan, including a payroll tax holiday, with smaller bills more likely to make it through Congress. The President, meanwhile, is meeting with his Jobs Council, the group of executives who have been advising him on the economy, as they make their recommendations today. We’ll speak with Binyamin Appelbaum, Washington Correspondent for The New York Times.

Last week, we spoke about how many high tech companies are unable to find qualified workers — especially engineers. Mo Koyfman, a venture capitalist, told us that the firms he works with want to hire Americans but they need to go overseas to find workers with the qualifications they require. Listeners weighed in. Michael Royce has worked as a programmer and IT manager in the past. Now he’s a school custodian. He says employers don’t hire him because he’s too expensive and foreign workers cost less. We’ll also speak with Ron Hira, associate professor of public policy, Rochester Institute of Technology, who says statistics that show that America isn’t producing enough engineers are just plain wrong.

And at 1:30 this afternoon, we’ll spend a half hour talking with the Republican candidate for Attorney General, Todd P’Pool. He’ll talk about the issues in the campaign and take your questions and comments. Join us at 502-814-8255.

Local News

U.S. Treasury Secretary in Louisville to Promote Obama’s Jobs Bill

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says President Barack Obama’s jobs bill would help business grow by investing in Kentucky railways, roads and aviation.

Geithner toured the UPS air hub, Worldport, in Louisville on Monday and said in order to improve the struggling economy, business needs help. Geithner’s appearance to promote Mr. Obama’s American Jobs Act was the third by a White House cabinet member in the past week.

“You do a better job of repairing roads and bridges, highways, airports, railways. It makes companies more competitive, lowers their cost. It’s like a tax cut,” said Geithner. “Infrastructure repair, repairing a road, does not make government bigger. It just makes the economy work better for business.”

While in Louisville Geithner met with local business leaders, said UPS CEO Scott Davis (pictured right) who shared the stage with Geithner. In a five-minute speech, Geithner said there needs to be certain investments to create growth and to be competitive in a world economy.

“We can afford to do it. It’s not just that interest rates today are at historic lows, but the cost of smart investments, infrastructure spending over time, are within our capacity as a country to afford,” said.

Geithner chose UPS to deliver his speech because it represents how some companies would benefit from infrastructure projects created from the jobs bill. And investing in highways and aviation will help the company double exports in the next five years, said Davis.

“We think cross-border trade will grow faster the next decade than it did last decade,” he said.

Mr. Obama’s jobs bill would invest over $450 million in Kentucky infrastructure and support at least 5,900 jobs. But that’s just one portion of the bill. Other initiatives include support for teachers and construction workers and creating various tax cuts.

Local News Next Louisville

GE To Begin Filling 480 New Jobs

From the Associated Press

General Electric in Louisville will start taking applications for 480 new jobs starting Wednesday.

GE spokeswoman Kim Freeman says former employees and those with manufacturing experience will be given first consideration.

The company will accept 6,000 applications, and Freeman says anyone who has previously applied for a GE job will need to apply again. Applications are only being taken on the Internet and will only be accepted through 4 p.m. next Friday.

There are no paper applications, and phone and in-person inquiries won’t be accepted.

The first of the $13-per-hour jobs will begin in February, making the GeoSpring hybrid water heater.

The company has promised to invest $1 billion and hire up to 1,400 new workers at Appliance Park to manufacture five new applicances by 2014.

Local News Politics

Kentucky Lawmakers Respond to Jobs Plan

Elected officials in Kentucky are split along party lines on President Barack Obama’s jobs plan.

Tonight, the president put forward a $450 billion proposal to create jobs. It calls for infrastructure spending, payroll tax cuts, an extension of unemployment benefits and reforms to Medicaid and Social Security.

Junior Senator Rand Paul was the first lawmaker to issue a response, releasing a video minutes after the speech ended. Paul repeated his calls for a balanced budget amendment and encouraged the president to support cuts in spending and the corporate tax rate.

Kentucky’s four Republican members of the House—Ed Whitfield, Brett Guthrie, Geoff Davis, Hal Rogers—were also critical of the plan.

Democratic Congressmen Ben Chandler and John Yarmuth were supportive of the president’s proposals in statements released after the speech. Yarmuth said he wants to see specific details, but the plan should gain bipartisan support.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, a Democrat, called on Congress to pass the plan, saying numerous infrastructure projects in Louisville could benefit from it.

Obama also called on lawmakers to “stop the political circus” in his speech.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth Wants Bold Ideas from Obama Jobs Speech

Joining fellow members of Congress, U.S. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., is eager to hear President Barack Obama’s jobs plan Thursday night, which could entail at least $300 billion in tax cuts and federal aid to local communities.

The proposal is being called “The American Jobs Act” and includes a two percent payroll tax cut, extending unemployment benefits and spending $100 billion on infrastructure projects. It is expected Mr. Obama will put an emphasis on states hit hardest by the recession and cities still dealing with a sluggish economy.

Yarmuth says some parts of the proposal won’t be able to pass the Republican-controlled House, but he hopes certain elements and ideas will be enacted.

“I think the president has to be decisive and I think he has to be—the term is probably overused—bold. And I think he needs to make sure that the American people understand the choices that we have and the absolute necessity of moving in a certain direction,” he says.