WASHINGTON President Barack Obama made a series of proposals on the economy, energy, and education during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Here are some of his key proposals:
- Raise the minimum wage to $9 per hour, up from the current level of $7.25 per hour by the end of 2015. Ensure minimum wage keeps pace with inflation.
- Spend $1 billion to create a network of 15 manufacturing institutes across the country. Three will be launched this year through the Energy and Defense departments with help from community colleges, universities and private businesses. The rest would require action by Congress.
- Invest $50 billion in infrastructure, including $40 billion for urgent fixes for deficient bridges.
- Ask Congress to support a $15 billion construction program to rehabilitate or demolish foreclosed and vacant properties.
- Host a "SelectUSA Investment Summit" to match offshore businesses with local governments seeking to attract foreign investment and businesses.
- Boost exports by launching trade talks with the European Union and completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
- Create "Promise Zones" in 20 communities to provide "intensive technical assistance" with existing programs and opportunities to help create jobs.
- Urge Congress to lower the corporate rate. Establish a special rate for manufacturers that is even lower.
- Create an "offshoring tax" to set a minimum tax on offshore earnings to encourage domestic investments, prevent "race to the bottom" in corporate tax rates.
- Expand the research and development tax credit, and make it permanent. This also would require Congressional approval.
CLIMATE AND ENERGY
- Start an "Energy Security Trust" with funding from oil and gas drilling royalties and use the money for research on electric vehicles, natural gas vehicles and biofuels.
- Urge Congress to make the Production Tax Credit permanent and refundable to provide incentives and certainty for renewable power, enabling generation to double by 2020.
- "Race to the Top" incentives for states with policies to boost energy efficiency to try to cut energy wasted by homes and businesses in half over the next 20 years.
- New policies to spur private sector investment in transportation, the power grid, and oil and gas pipelines.
- Work with Congress and support U.S. states to provide universal access to pre-school for 4-year-olds.
- Create incentives for high schools to be redesigned with an emphasis on "real-world learning" and include classes on technology, science and engineering.
- Tighten accountability for colleges and universities receiving federal aid.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason; Editing by Jim Loney)