October 4, 2001

Mayors Seek Help for Struggling U.S. Workers
Menino Urges Congress to Offer Job Training and Tax Credits

Washington, DC -- Congress should provide job training and tax credits to help U.S. workers struggling because of the weak economy, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Vice President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said today in testimony before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension.

Download the full testimony.
"The tragic events of September 11 have highlighted the plight of workers laid off in the airline industry, in the hospitality industry, and in all the businesses that support these sectors," testified Mayor Menino. "Yet, even before that sad day, American workers, young and old, were finding themselves out of work as a result of corporate cutbacks."

Menino pointed out that the number of unemployed people in Boston has increased from 8,569 in August of 2000 to 13,263 in August of 2001, an increase of more than 50 percent. Similarly, 90,700 Massachusetts residents were unemployed in August of 2000, jumping to 124,600 in August of 2001. He stressed that rising unemployment is a national problem.

"I have faith that the strong and diverse economy of America's cities will bounce back, but we need a jumpstart now," said Menino. "And workforce development is the spark we need to ignite our nation's economy."

Specifically, Menino urged Congress to -

  • Restore funding for job training for dislocated workers;
  • Promote one-stop career centers to help workers and employers;
  • Encourage computer literacy and education as an important element of job training;
  • Provide a tax credit to families of modest means to purchase a computer;
  • Lift the cap on state and local tax exempt bonds to boost economic development;
  • Increase low-income housing tax credits to spur a lagging construction industry; and
  • Offer incentives for travel.

The U.S. Conference on Mayors also supports extending unemployment benefits for displaced workers and assisting them with health care costs. The Conference is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,200 such cities in the country today.

Contact: Andy Solomon (202) 861-6766


©2004 U.S. Conference of Mayors