Washington, D.C.— One year after releasing his Jobs Plan, Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-San Bernardino) highlighted his job-creating initiatives and next steps to help put San Bernardino County residents back to work.
“Getting our economy back on track and putting people back to work has been my top priority since I took office,” said Rep. Aguilar. He continued, “While we are certainly moving in the right direction, we have more work to do to make sure the Inland Empire begins to see the progress locally that we’ve seen nationally, and I look forward to continuing to work with both Democrats and Republicans at every level to make that happen.”
Weeks after taking office, Rep. Aguilar convened multiple jobs roundtable discussions with business owners, community members and labor leaders throughout the district. Based on these meetings and his conversations with business owners on his small business tour, Rep. Aguilar released a Jobs Plan—a plan to get the Inland Empire economy moving again.
Since releasing his Jobs Plan one year ago this week, Rep. Aguilar followed through on the recommendations included in the report, accomplishing a majority of the actions he outlined. These include:
ü Cut taxes for small businesses to make it more affordable to start and expand a business: Rep. Aguilar’s Small Business Jobs Act is a targeted tax credit to small businesses that operate in counties with unemployment rates above the national average. This bill would benefit firms in both San Bernardino and Riverside County, helping to lift the Inland Empire regional economy. Rep. Aguilar’s Displaced Jobs Relief Act would help businesses recover that have seen significant jobs or sales losses due to foreign competition.
ü Establish a Small Business Advisory Council to ensure small businesses have a voice in dealing with regulations that affect how they are able to do business: This week, Rep. Aguilar convened the first meeting with his Small Business Advisory Board, where small business owners discussed a number of issues facing Inland Empire employers and what other steps can be taken at the federal level to alleviate their burdens. Rep. Aguilar also voted for the America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act, which permanently extends three different tax provisions commonly used by many small businesses.
ü Invest in our streets, roads, bridges, rail and public transit to support business growth and attract new business to the region: Rep. Aguilar advocated for and supported a number of local initiatives and grant requests to bring federal dollars back to the Inland Empire to invest in infrastructure. This included more than $1 million dollars for Loma Linda University Health for construction and infrastructure investments at their San Bernardino Campus. He also issued support for San Bernardino Associated Governments [SANBAG] projects and other municipalities for different local infrastructure projects that are making their way through the federal request system.
ü Host a business workshop to connect entrepreneurs and businesses owners with resources to expand: In August, Rep. Aguilar hosted U.S. Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet to meet with Inland Empire small business owners and local lending partners to discuss opportunities for local businesses and startups to grow their workforce and increase access to credit and capital in San Bernardino County.
ü Create a National Infrastructure Bank to fund local projects and create jobs with public and private investments: Rep Aguilar joined Rep. Rosa DeLaura (D-CT) to introduce H.R. 3337, the National Infrastructure Development Bank Act. The bank will facilitate funding for a number of critical projects throughout California and the country, improving roads, bridges and rails that residents rely on each and every day.
ü Expand job-training programs and incentives to help employers train their new hires: Rep. Aguilar’s bipartisan On-the-Job Training Tax Credit Act, provides a tax credit to small businesses to train and hire new employees. The bill was inspired by the Inland Empire Jobs Corps and the work they do training San Bernardino County residents for life-long careers and helping to close the skills gap so employers can train and hire experienced workers.
ü Host Jobs Fairs to help connect job-seekers with job training resources, companies looking to hire, and other employment resources and opportunities: Last year, Rep. Aguilar hosted a Holiday Jobs Fair where he connected over two dozen local employers with Inland Empire job-seekers.
ü Create targeted tax credits for businesses who hire new workers: Both the On-the-Job Training Tax Credit Act and the Small Business Jobs Act give businesses the means and resources through tax credits to expand, hire and train new employees.
ü Make college more affordable by expanding Pell Grants, lowering student loan interest rates and making community college free: Rep. Aguilar cosponsored the America’s College Promise Act, which makes two years of community college free and also cosponsored the All-Year ACCESS Act, which restores full-year Pell Grants for full-time and part-time students. Rep. Aguilar has also held multiple college affordability events, including workshops for students struggling in the aftermath of for-profit college closures (such as Everest College) and an information session to connect students with federal student loan resources. Just last month he convened a Community College Roundtable Discussion to meet with Inland Empire education experts about what else can be done at the federal level to help students with access to affordable education opportunities.
ü Invest in early childhood education and ensure our schools have the resources they need to educate our kids: Rep. Aguilar has toured local elementary schools and met with teachers and administrators in Head Start programs to highlight the need for investments in early childhood education. He also cosponsored the Strong Start for America’s Children Act, which sets up matching grants for states and districts to set up high-quality pre-kindergarten programs to serve low-income families.
ü Increase the minimum wage to help people keep up with higher cost of living: Rep. Aguilar cosponsored the Raise the Wage Act, which would incrementally raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $12.00 an hour by 2020 and phase out the tipped minimum wage.
ü Ensure equal pay for women by supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act: Rep. Aguilar cosponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help close the wage gap that exists between men and women. Today, women earn approximately 79 cents to every dollar that white, non-Hispanic men make, on average.
Rep. Aguilar will continue working to implement the remaining measures of his Jobs Plan. Rep. Aguilar’s Jobs Plan can be read in full here.
Rep. Aguilar represents California’s 31st Congressional District. Prior to serving in Congress, Rep. Aguilar was the Mayor of Redlands where he resides today with his wife Alisha and their two children.