Daily Archives: January 14, 2012

Rush Holt: Libraries Offer 21st Century Skills

The following is from Congressman Rush Holt’s Newsletter

Yesterday, I joined the nation’s top library official, Susan Hildreth of the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), to visit public and school libraries in Monroe, East Brunswick, and Princeton.

America’s libraries are more widely used today than at any other point in history, with more than three quarters of Americans having visited a library in the last year. Yet these are trying times for libraries.

Even as libraries have lost funding from towns, counties, and states, they have experienced a surge in demand due to the millions of Americans looking for jobs and finding them using library services. In fact, an IMLS survey found that 30 million Americans used a library to address career and employment needs in 2009. The demand is not just for computers, but also for qualified librarians who can offer guidance on how to set-up an e-mail account, use resume formats, and file an online job application or unemployment claim.

As Director Hildreth and I saw in our visits, New Jersey libraries are working hard. In Congress I have introduced the Workforce Investments through Local Libraries (WILL) Act to integrate libraries into our job training efforts. My bill has been endorsed by the American Library Association, and I am very hopeful that it will be passed into law as Congress works to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act later this year.

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

At a time when inequality runs rampant and when so many across America are seeking work, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message of equality, social justice, and economic opportunity resonates still after half a century. As Dr. King said in 1961:

“I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream—a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man’s skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality. That is the dream.”

Earned Income Tax Credit Offers Support to Working Families

One of America’s most important anti-poverty programs is also among the least recognized: the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. In 2010 alone, the EITC lifted 5.4 million people, including 3 million children, above the poverty line.

The EITC is a refundable tax credit – that is, when the size of the credit exceeds the amount of taxes owed, a taxpayer receives the excess as a refund. It originated in the 1970s as a compromise between Democrats and Republicans who had differing views about the best way to fight poverty. Democrats had long supported lifting families out of poverty through the enactment of a strong minimum wage; Republicans had long argued that a high minimum wage would lead employers to hire fewer people.

The EITC provided financial support to working families, as Democrats desired, while avoiding any wage distortions in the labor market that Republicans feared. Presidents from both political parties have embraced and expanded the EITC for more than three decades.

Yet this tradition of bipartisan support has fractured in recent years. Republicans have increasingly attacked as “lucky duckies” the low-income families whose tax burdens are greatly reduced or eliminated by the EITC. Meanwhile, as the minimum wage has stagnated and our economy has faltered, the EITC has been forced to bear more and more of the burden of combating poverty – yet its increased importance has not been matched by increases in the tax credit’s size. Congress and the states should do more to support working families.

The IRS offers further details about the EITC, and a tool to help determine whether you are eligible, on its website.

Sincerely,

Rush Holt
Member of Congress

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Filed under Congressman Rush Holt, Earned Income Tax Credit, Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Martin Luther King Jr., Newsletter, Workforce Investments through Local Libraries (WILL) Act

Princess’ Playoff Pick- Giants v. Packers

Last week it seemed that Princess the Camel may have been a little to confident in picking the Giants to beat the Falcons in their NFC Wildcard playoff game, but she and the Giants pulled it off rather impressively, the Giants beat the Falcons 24 – 2.


Being the Giants fan that she is, Princess hopes to continue her amazing winning streak and once again has chosen the Eli manning and the Giants to win this weeks NFC Divisional playoff game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Ever optimistic Princess stated, “…stranger things have happened. Not too long ago the Giants went to Green Bay as a big underdog, played the game in zero degrees, and beat the Packers on their way to beating an 18 and 0 New England Patriots.”, when explaining her choice for picking the currently 9 point underdogs NY Giants over the Packers.

It’s going to be a tough game this week for the Giants, I don’t know if they can really pull it off but as Princess stated, anything can happen. Win or loss the Giants have exceeded expectations this year and I’ll be cheering for them either way.

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Filed under Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Green Bay Packers, NFC Playoffs, NFL picks, NY Giants, Princess the Camel

President Obama’s Weekly Address: Helping American Businesses Succeed

WASHINGTON, DC— In his weekly address, President Obama told the American people about companies that are “insourcing” – choosing to bring jobs back and make additional investments in the United States. To help with this, the President invited business leaders who are insourcing jobs to a White House forum this week to see how others can follow their example. The President is committed to assisting businesses bring jobs back to this country, and will soon announce tax proposals that reward companies that invest in America and eliminate tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas. He has also put forward a proposal to streamline government to make it easier for businesses large and small to get support in selling their products at home and around the world. The President will continue taking action every day to grow the economy and help more Americans find jobs.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/all/modules/swftools/shared/flash_media_player/player5x2.swf

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Filed under corporate tax breaks, economic growth, insourcing, Job creation, Made in America, new businesses, President Obama, weekly address

Swim Club Won’t Be Operated By Township In 2012

Rumors have been circulating for a number of weeks now concerning the future of the Middletown Swim Club.

Some have said that the Swim Club was in the process of being sold to a developer who would be building townhouse on site and another said that the Swim Club was to be leased to a third party that would install an olympic sized swimming pool and an ice rink. No rumor that I am aware of mentioned that the facility would be closed completely for 2012.

Notice however, the small glimmer of hope offered by Township Aministrator Tony Mercantante, who stated in the press release that, “We are, however, looking at options that would allow the club to re-open with a different operator…”, which seem to confirm the one of the rumors listed above.

Below is the announcement posted on the Middletown Township website concerning the closing of the Middletown Swim Club:

The Middletown Swim and Tennis Club will not be operated by the Township in 2012 as program fees have not covered its operating budget in recent years. Accordingly, Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante is recommending that the facility remain closed for the 2012 season, unless another entity can soon be identified to operate the club.

“Unfortunately, rising costs, declining membership, declining revenues, an aging facility, and staff reductions mean that it is no longer economically viable for the Township to continue to operate the facility,” Mercantante said. “The Township has been obligated to cover revenue shortfalls from its regular operating budget,” Mercantante explained, “and it cannot afford to do so any longer.”

“It is unrealistic to expect the Township Committee to ask taxpayers to help support a membership-driven facility, hoping that it will become self-sustaining again,” Mayor Tony Fiore continued.

The Township purchased the 10-acre aquatic facility from a private owner in 1997 for $1.225 million. The facility, located at the corner of Harmony and Old Country Road, has 4 swimming pools, 55 cabanas, 330 bathhouses, five tennis courts, a playground, snack bar and basketball, shuffleboard, bocce and handball courts.

The club, which is funded through membership and program fees, is managed through a utility that allows the facility to operate outside of the municipal budget. Revenues were to cover the purchase, operating costs and improvements. In the early years, the club largely paid for itself as anticipated. Since the national recession began in 2008, membership has declined and revenues are not covering operating and debt costs.

“No decision has been reached as to what to do with the facility in the long-term,” Mercantante said.

He added that the facility’s age is another factor in its fate. The club, which is more than 50 years old, will continue to need repairs and capital upgrades in the years to come. There are not sufficient revenues to support major improvement projects, Mercantante said.

“We realize that if the club does not open it will be a sad day for many families in the Township. We also realize it will be disruptive to some people’s summer plans, but the Township cannot afford to run the club in the red for another season,” Mercantante said. “We are, however, looking at options that would allow the club to re-open with a different operator and we are also looking at options to allow the main pool to be opened so that the award-winning swim team can stay together for another season,” he said.

“During these tough economic times everything must always be on the table. The decision not operate the swim club is one that we take very seriously. However, our obligation to provide core and essential governmental services cannot be compromised,” Mayor Fiore said.

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Filed under Middletown NJ, Middletown Township Committee, press release, Swim Club, Tony Fiore, Tony Mercantante