The gathering at the Georgia World Congress Center came the same day that Gov. Nathan Deal announced several statewide initiatives geared toward helping the state’s veterans.
They include Troops to Trucks, a program intended to help veterans find employment in the transportation industry. The pilot program will focus on accelerating the process to earn a Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL, for personnel at Fort Benning, Deal said in a statement.
In Atlanta, officials were predicting that around 5,000 job seekers would visit the Georgia Jobs For Veterans Career Expo by the time it ended in the afternoon. It was organized by the Georgia Department of Labor and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development.
“These are individuals who understand discipline, they have pride, they make top-notch employees, there’s no doubt about that,” Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in an interview.
Employers can be eligible for a tax credit ranging from $2,400 to $9,600 per veteran hired, Butler said.
An estimated 80,000 military members are expected to return to civilian life — and jobs — in Georgia within the next four years, Butler said.
The job fair was designed with them in mind, as was a similar event in west Georgia last month.
An Oct. 9 job fair in LaGrange attracted more than 800 people, officials said. The Columbus metro area, which includes the Army’s Fort Benning, has lost 1,600 jobs during the past year, according to figures released last month by the state labor department.
Both job fairs were also open to civilians such as Clifton Earl Cheeks Jr., who recently moved to the Atlanta area from Washington, D.C.
Cheeks, 27, said he was recently laid off as a truck driver for a company based in Forest Park, but had some good prospects after submitting his resume at Thursday’s fair.
Cheeks said he’s seeking a job related to security or law enforcement. He said he got encouraging words after giving his resume to the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, which is seeking juvenile corrections officers.
“Ensuring that these heroes find meaningful employment as they return home is one of Georgia’s top priorities,” Deal said.
Among them: the State Workforce Investment Board has voted to grant top priority of service in Georgia’s workforce system to veterans and their spouses, Deal said.
Also, state officials announced a website, www.operationworkforce.com, which is described as being a one-stop place for veterans to find resources and services in Georgia. The site will include job listings from companies across the state seeking to fill positions with veterans, Deal said. By Andrew Taylor
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON — Austere “fiscal cliff” tax increases and spending cuts set for the end of the year would send the economy back into recession and cause a spike in the jobless rate to 9.1 percent if lame-duck lawmakers and the White House can’t head them off, congressional budget experts said in a dire analysis Thursday.
The tax and spending changes, which Congress will dig into next week, would cut the federal deficit by $503 billion through next September, said the Congressional Budget Office report. But the adjustments also would cause the economy to shrink by 0.5 percent next year.
The analysis assumes there is a protracted impasse in Washington and the government falls off the “cliff” for the entire year, which most Capitol-watchers now think is unlikely. All sides want to avoid the severe automatic changes, which are a one-two punch of expiring tax cuts and major across-the-board spending cuts to the Pentagon and domestic programs. It is the looming punishment for previous failures of a bitterly divided Congress and White House to deal with the government’s spiraling debt or overhaul its unwieldy tax code. .
The report, updating an analysis from last May, comes as a newly re-elected President Barack Obama and Congress seek ways to avert or at least ease possible damage from the scheduled changes. All sides are promising cooperation, but many difficult decisions await and the politics of raising tax revenue and cutting federal benefits programs is exceedingly tricky.
The new study estimates that the nation’s gross domestic product would grow by 2.2 percent next year if the Bush-era tax rates were extended and would expand by almost 3 percent if Obama’s 2 percentage point payroll tax cut and current jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed are extended.
The largest component of the changes — dubbed a “fiscal cliff” as an indication they should be avoided if possible — comes with the expiration of tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 and extended two years ago after Obama’s drubbing in the 2010 midterm elections. Extending the full range of Bush tax cuts would cost the government $330 billion through the September end of the 2013 budget year.
Republicans want to temporarily renew all of the Bush tax cuts, but Obama wants to hike the top two income tax rates to Clinton-era levels. The top tax rate is now 35 percent; Obama would raise that to 39.6 percent. If the rival sides can’t enact a bargain by January, the full menu of tax cuts would expire.
The spending cuts would be imposed as a consequence of the failure of last year’s deficit-reduction “supercommittee” to reach agreement. There are other elements, chiefly a 2 percentage point cut in payroll taxes orchestrated by Obama and unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless that would disappear.
Extending the payroll tax relief and renewing the long-term unemployment benefits would add another $108 billion to the deficit through September. It’s unclear whether lawmakers will seek to avert that in the upcoming deal-brokering.
“Today’s CBO report underscores the need to prevent the so-called fiscal cliff from harming American families and businesses, and to instead enact a balanced, long-term deficit reduction plan,” said top House Budget Committee Democrat Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. “We must take a balanced approach that includes cuts to spending and cuts to tax breaks for millionaires and special interests that we can no longer afford.”