Reporting Gary Nelson
Legislative Session Coverage
WEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – A small but loud group of labor representatives and small business people demonstrated at the office of Republican Congressman David Rivera Friday, urging him to support President Obama’s American Jobs Act.
“Pass the jobs bill! Pass the jobs bill!” the demonstrators chanted at Rivera’s office in a West Miami-Dade strip mall.
“This can’t wait. The jobs bill is going to help rebuild our schools, it’s going to help rebuild our roads, our infrastructure,” said Karen Aronowitz, president of United Teachers of Dade.
President Obama’s $500 billion plan would put hundreds of thousands to work building roads and bridges, rebuilding crumbling schools, and helping to hire and retain teachers, police officers and firefighters. The jobs act would cut taxes for 98 percent of America’s businesses, would cut taxes for workers by an average $1,500 per family, and would pay for itself by raising taxes on those who make more than a million dollars a year.
“If I made a million dollars, I would not mind paying a little bit more in taxes. We’re not talking a huge amount. We’re talking a fair share,” said Millie Herrera, a former state lawmaker and a small business owner.
Republican leaders have vowed they won’t raise taxes, even for the fattest cats. Democrats counter that deep, years-long tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy have not worked, have not “trickled down,” as promised to the middle class and poor.
In New York, Washington and other cities there have been growing public protests in recent days by young people, the unemployed, underemployed and others – a rising chorus of discontent with a political system perceived to be controlled by the wealthy.
“Where are the jobs! Where are the jobs” chanted the demonstrators at Rep. Rivera’s office Friday.
‘My hope is that the people in Congress and elected officials everywhere will listen to the people and not just listen to the special interests,” said Lili Bach of the Miami Young Democrats.
“We have got to have this jobs act,” said Betsy Marville, a registered nurse.
Congressman Rivera was not in his office, but a staff member politely listened to the concerns of the demonstrators.
Rivera later issued an emailed statement to CBS4 News, slamming Obama’s jobs bill as focusing “more on scoring political points than on real long-term reforms to improve our nation’s economy.”
While I oppose any tax increases, I am prepared to support legislation we agree on to create jobs,” Rivera said.
The grass roots “Occupy Wall Street” movement that has swept to cities across the country, protesting joblessness and the miserable economy, will spread to South Florida this weekend.
“Occupy Miami” will hold a rally Saturday at 1:30 in Bayfront Park on Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami. “Occupy Fort Lauderdale” plans a gathering at the main public library on Andrews Avenue from 6 until 9 p.m.