Letter on S.1769, the "Rebuild America Jobs Act"

Monday, October 31, 2011 - 8:00pm

November 1, 2011


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly opposes S. 1769, the “Rebuild America Jobs Act,” which would impose a burdensome and onerous tax increase on Americas small businesses, entrepreneurs and other job creators. Simply put, this bill is nothing more than a tax increase masquerading as the answer to America’s transportation infrastructure investment challenges.

It is imperative that Congress act to ensure transportation programs are more focused, deliver projects more efficiently, stretch limited federal dollars as far as possible, and leverage private investment and resources. Additional resources are required to prevent an estimated 35% cut in federal highway and transit investments. Across infrastructure sectors, the federal government provides the long-term certainty needed at the state and local levels to provide the substantial improvements in the physical platform of the U.S. economy with long-term authorization bills.

Investment in transportation has proven to grow jobs, and the need for Congress to act on transportation infrastructure is clear. For five years, the Chamber has called on Congress to approve legislation that both reforms surface transportation programs and, at a minimum, provide the resources required to maintain current levels of investment to prevent drastic cuts.

The Chamber has called for Congress to complete work on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill. This legislation is more than four years overdue, which creates uncertainty for the development and deployment of the Next Generation Air Traffic Control system, and delays needed improvements to airport infrastructure and to aviation system efficiency and productivity.

The “Rebuild America Jobs Act” is a charade because it would do little to address these and other transportation infrastructure challenges. Instead, it would significantly impair the ability of small businesses and entrepreneurs to create jobs and grow the U.S. economy.

The Chamber strongly opposes the job killing tax hikes on small businesses—the drivers of job creation and economic growth in America—provided in the “Rebuild America Jobs Act.” Beginning in 2013, this legislation would impose a permanent 0.7% surtax on earned income of more than $1 million This proposed surtax would significantly harm hundreds of thousands of small business owners and operators and almost half of all pass-through income.

It is surprising that this type of surtax has reemerged only a matter of weeks after the Senate rejected, in a bipartisan vote, a similar 0.5% surtax on job creators on October 20, 2011.

This surtax would be no panacea for the dearth of infrastructure investment. The permanent tax hike provided in the “Rebuild America Jobs Act” would provide only a one-time increase for infrastructure projects.

The Chamber strongly believes that robust federal infrastructure investment can be part of addressing the jobs crisis, as noted in the Six Point Jobs Plan introduced in September. However, the “Rebuild America Jobs Act” fails to provide the multi-year funding certainty and fails to establish the policy and program reforms sorely needed to create jobs and support economic growth. This legislation only continues to delay and frustrate the serious and muchneeded debate on the sustained long-term investment required to address America’s
infrastructure crisis.

The Chamber strongly urges the Senate to oppose S. 1769, the “Rebuild America Jobs Act” and to instead focus on the reauthorization of the long-expired surface transportation and aviation program legislation—specific actions Congress and the Administration can take right now to support job growth and economic productivity without adding to the deficit.

R. Bruce Josten