Rep. George Miller's new jobs bill would pump $340 million into the East Bay to save or restore nearly 6,200 local government jobs, according to House Democratic estimates released Tuesday.
The House Education and Labor Committee, of which the Martinez congressman is the chairman, produced the estimates for dozens of cities and counties across the country as part of its promotion of the Local Jobs for America Act.
East Bay job projections include: Alameda County cities under 50,000 and unincorporated areas, 639 jobs; Alameda, 193; Antioch, 243; Berkeley, 287; Contra Costa County's cities under 50,000 and unincorporated areas, 1,308; Concord, 332; Fremont, 508; Hayward, 398; Livermore, 137; Oakland, 1,199; Pittsburg, 162; Pleasanton, 152; Richmond, 293; Walnut Creek, 162; and Union City, 173.
The committee cautioned that its estimates are based on a variety of assumptions — such as population, poverty and unemployment rates — and final numbers of jobs and federal dollars could be higher or lower depending on specific local conditions.
"Deep job cuts at the local level over the next couple of years threaten to derail our nation's recovery," said Miller, who has repeatedly expressed concern in recent months about the recession's impact on local public services.
The legislation would create a nationwide $75 billion, two-year fund to help local governments and community nonprofits avert an estimated 1 million layoffs
It also includes a one-year, nationwide $24 billion infusion earmarked for the retention of educators, firefighters and law enforcement officers along with private-sector retraining programs for those who have lost their jobs.
The money would go straight to local governments and nonprofit organizations through a formula modeled after the Community Development Block Grant program. It's a key component for county and city officials wary of bureaucracy associated with prior federal jobs bills.
As committee chairman, leader of the Democratic Party's policy committee and a confidant of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Miller is a congressional heavyweight.
He has substantial help from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities and labor coalitions such as Jobs for America Now, which are lobbying heavily across the country for the bill.
A league study predicts cities' precarious financial condition will only worsen in the next two years.
But Miller is still far short of the number of votes he needs to pass the bill.
Many of his colleagues, particularly those who face stiff re-election campaigns this year, are wary of government spending bills at a time when polls show voters in a foul mood and with little confidence in their elected leaders.
Critics, meanwhile, cite a new report from a conservative think tank, the American Legislative Exchange Council, which concludes that federal aid will only postpone necessary spending cuts as the economy continues to struggle.
Contact Lisa Vorderbrueggen at 925-945-4773.
East Bay jobs saved, restored
under Miller's proposal
Contra Costa County