Black state legislators want economic bailout ‘in the neighborhood’

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WASHINGTON–They clearly won’t have it by Christmas, but the nation’s Black state legislators are now looking for what they perceive as their fair share of an economic bailout for “the neighborhood” while Congress is doling th

WASHINGTON–They clearly won’t have it by Christmas, but the nation’s Black state legislators are now looking for what they perceive as their fair share of an economic bailout for “the neighborhood” while Congress is doling them out to corporations.

“While we support the bailout of Wall Street, the bailout of the financial institutions and the automobile industry, we feel very strongly that Main Street and our streets need to be bailed out as well,” says Georgia State Rep. Calvin Smyre, president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.

Congress approved a $700 billion bailout for the financial industry and a $17.4 billion loan for troubled U. S. automakers. But, how can the nation help the average citizen who is out of work or living from paycheck-to-paycheck? Smyre and state legislators have a remedy.

“The only way to do that is to create a stimulus program whereas the American consumer is involved. Those other bailouts are rightfully so. But they don’t help create jobs. They help save jobs. So unemployment is a key factor,” Smyre said.

Facing a gamut of dire needs on the state level, Smyre and his 125 fellow representatives from 42 states met in Washington earlier this month for the Caucus’ 32nd Annual Legislative Conference.

They met with members of the Obama transition team with hopes of bringing home federal dollars to offset serious shortages that are often used to deal with social programs and other crucial needs that are now exacerbated by the failing economy.

Obama has set a goal to create at least three million jobs in the first two years of his administration, which starts Jan. 20. Meanwhile, states are suffering, Smyre says.

“There are 43 out of 50 states with some sort of budget shortfall…So, with that in mind, we just want to be partners with our federal government to be able to assist us in the downturn in our economy,” Smyre said.  NNPA

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Copyright 2008 NNPA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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