President Barack Obama will propose cutting payroll taxes for small businesses as part of a more than $300 billion plan to re-ignite the economy and spur hiring, according to an administration memo obtained by Bloomberg News.
The business tax cut will be part of a package of measures Obama will lay out in a speech to Congress tonight, along with assistance for the long-term unemployed, spending for building roads and bridges and repairing schools, and aid to states to keep teachers and emergency workers on the job.
Obama’s advisers also have discussed seeking a deeper cut in the payroll tax for workers, to three percentage points from the temporary two-point cut in effect now, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
Obama would pay for the additional spending by closing corporate tax loopholes and raising taxes on high-income earners. Next week, he’ll send a plan on how to offset the spending to the special 12-member congressional committee charged with coming up with $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts.
With his address tonight to a rare joint session of Congress on jobs, the top concern of voters as the 2012 election campaign gets under way, Obama is seeking to frame choices for voters as much as present a plan for lawmakers.
He’ll be proposing his latest stimulus plan in the House chamber, where the Republican majority has signaled opposition to new spending. As job growth has stalled and the unemployment rate hovers above 9 percent, Obama’s job-approval ratings are scraping new lows as public doubts about his stewardship of the economy rise.
“The president has had a difficult summer,” said Democratic political consultant Tad Devine, a senior strategist for the Al Gore and John Kerry presidential campaigns. “All of the polling is heading in the wrong direction. He needs a circuit breaker.”
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