Vice President Joe Biden met with political and business leaders in New York this week to tout the benefits of the economic stimulus plan.
Biden hosted a roundtable at Pace University's Lubin School of Business in New York with business leaders from across the country Tuesday to discuss the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Biden said the act is creating and saving jobs, while also spurring business opportunities in the first 100 days of the two-year program.
"The Recovery Act is putting people to work -- and our business leaders here today are a testament to that," he said in a statement. "They are on the front lines of hiring folks for new jobs and preventing layoffs. They have first-hand knowledge of how this economy -- and our policies -- are working. We're looking to those in the business community to be creative, to be innovative, and really take advantage of the new opportunities made possible by this Recovery Act.
New York Gov. David Paterson, who was among the leaders meeting with Biden, said that crews have already broken ground on critical infrastructure projects.
Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin said the U.S. Treasury Department is moving quickly to help stabilize the housing market, provide tax relief to workers, and provide assistance to state and local governments.
"The Recovery Act, together with our efforts to stabilize the financial system, is starting to make a difference," Wolin said in a statement. "The national economy is showing some initial signs of stability with confidence improving and credit starting to ease. We still have a long way to go towards rebuilding our economy and ensuring that Americans are back at work, but all Americans should know that this administration is absolutely committed to getting us there."
Christian Zimmerman, president of Pike Industries, also attended. The company won its first stimulus construction project this spring to repave a New Hampshire highway, and Zimmerman said that allowed it to hire 100 employees instead of laying off 100, as previously planned.
"Enactment of the Recovery Act, followed by quick action by federal and state governments to get highway money out into the economy, came at a critical time for our industry," he said. "Our company not only avoided significant layoffs, but we have hired many new employees, engaged subcontractors, contracted for new equipment, and we are purchasing various materials and services to support the stimulus projects we have been awarded."
The act also includes tax credits to drive demand for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Standard Renewable Energy of Houston is just one company benefitting from those credits.
"Because of the Recovery Act, our business is growing, not shrinking. We just opened a new office in Phoenix, and by year's end, our workforce will have grown over 70%," John Berger, founder and CEO of Standard Renewable Energy, said in a statement.
Steve Chen, executive VP of Crystal Window & Door Systems in Flushing, N.Y., said the Recovery Act is "not just an injection of cash into the economy; it goes a long way in educating the public and changing perceptions about Energy Star and greener products -- how homeowners can invest in their homes, the environment, and the economy at the same time."
Francis Jamiel, owner of Jamiel's Shoe World, the largest family-owned shoe retailer in Rhode Island, praised the Recovery Act for helping save his business through a provision that allows the government to provide a 90% guarantee on some Small Business Administration loans and to eliminate fees. He obtained a $400,000 loan that prevented him from closing the doors on his 73-year-old family business.
Joe Robson, president of the Robson Co. in Broken Arrow, Okla., and chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said that "the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit is stimulating nearly 200,000 additional home sales across the nation and will result in over 73,000 new jobs."
Braemar Energy Ventures is one company that has benefitted from targeted venture capital investments for developing and commercializing renewable energy sources. Neil S. Suslak, founding partner of Braemar, said that loan guarantees and grants are helping build plants and facilities and hire more workers.
Biden's office said that 150,000 jobs have been created or saved by the Recovery Act and more than $126 billion has been promised for stimulus programs and projects.
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