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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 01:43 PM ET, 10/20/2011

Will Senators do the right thing on jobs, or will they shaft thousands of their own constituents?

Let’s be as clear as possible: Any Democratic or Republican senators who vote this week against the $35 billion package of aid to the states are putting the very narrow interests of an infinitessimal few over the interests of many thousands of their own constituents.

This can be documented with actual numbers, as you will see below.

The Senate vote is on whether to send billions to the states to avert teacher layoffs and to facilitate the hiring of more teachers and first resonders — a key provision of Obama’s jobs plan. This would be paid for by a 0.5 percent surtax on millionaires. As of now, it’s unclear how a handful of moderate Senators in both parties will vote, because they have “stimulus spending” and they oppose hiking taxes on the rich.

So here’s a way look at this: How many people would be impacted by this proposal in each state represented by each on-the-fence senator? And how does that compare to the number of constituents in each of those states who would pay that 0.5 percent surtax? And keep in mind, the impact of one teaching job is far vaster and affects far more people than the impact of the surtax on one constituent, which is only paid on income over one million dollars.

As it turns out, in each of those states, the proposal would provide enough funds to create or save thousands of jobs — which would impact the lives of many more thousands of each state’s residents and lift the broader economy. Meanwhile, in most cases the surtax funding it would be paid by one tenth of a percent of each state’s residents. Here’s a breakdown of a few key states:

* Nebraska, home to Senator Ben Nelson: The aid proposal would provide $176 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 2,800 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Nebraska taxpayers, or roughly 1,050 people.

* Montana, home to Senator Jon Tester: The aid proposal would provide over $90 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 1,400 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Montana taxpayers, or roughly 340 people.

* West Virginia, home to Senator Joe Manchin: The aid proposal would provide over $162 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 2,600 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of West Virginia taxpayers, or roughly 580 people.

* Maine, home to senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins: The aid proposal would provide over $117 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 1,800 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Maine taxpayers, or roughly 375 people.

* Tennessee, home to senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker: The aid proposal would provide over $596 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 9,400 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Tennesse taxpayers, or roughly 2,450 people.

States like Connecticut (Joe Lieberman) and Massachusetts (Scott Brown) have a larger proportion of millionaires, but even in those states, the surtax is minimal and the proposal would ultimately have a positive impact on far more people. And in many of the above states, this couldn’t be more clear cut.

As Jamison Foser noted the other day, these senators face a clear choice on jobs. If they back this proposal, they are favoring the interests of the first, far larger group of their own constituents, helping their states’ economies and boosting their states’ future. If they oppose it, they are favoring the interests of the second, much smaller group of far wealthier constituents. It’s that simple.

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Editor’s note: The White House numbers are based on Department of Education estimates of how money distributed to the states would impact hiring. The number who would pay the surtax is based on data from Citizens for Tax Justice.

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UPDATE: Edited slightly for accuracy; the percentages calculated by CTJ are actually a percentage of taxpayers, rather than overall population. More numbers coming.

UPDATE II: Okay, it gets even better. CTJ ran the numbers for me of actual taxpayers who would pay the millionaire surtax, and they’re even lower than I originally had them. I’ve inserted them above.

By  |  01:43 PM ET, 10/20/2011

 
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