Speaking at a workshop sponsored by the Northwest Montana Association of Realtors last week, Tammye Treviño touted the benefits of President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act for rural America, including the Flathead Valley.
“This is chock full of ideas from both Republicans and Democrats and we believe this is such an important piece of legislation and it needs to pass now,” said Treviño, the United States Department of Agriculture rural development administrator for housing and community facilities.
Treviño was invited by the group to discuss the government benefits, including guaranteed housing loans, available to people who are looking for a home in a rural area. According to Matthew Jones, state director for the USDA rural development program, Kalispell and the surrounding communities meet population requirements to qualify. For a town to be included, its population must not exceed 20,000. According to the 2010 Census Kalispell’s population is 19,927.
Treviño said the trip to Montana, which included speaking at the workshop as well as visiting various housing sites throughout the area, had been planned for months, but promoting the President’s jobs act was an added “benefit.”
The bill was submitted to Congress on Sept. 12 and touted as a way to create jobs. Critics have called the legislation simply a sequel to the 2009 stimulus package, but Treviño said the bill was a much-needed step toward economic recovery.
“I have to strongly encourage folks to support the American Jobs Act,” she said in an interview with the Beacon. “It’s not going to be the one big thing that gets us where we want to be, it’s going to be one more step and it’s a step in the right direction.”
Treviño said rural America has the most to gain from the bill through tax incentives for small business, which will help stem unemployment in rural areas as well as rebuild infrastructure, including roads and schools. However those on the right, including Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg, have said government spending does not create jobs.
“The more the government spends, the worse the economy gets. It’s time to try something different,” Rehberg said in an address for the Congressional and Senate Western Caucus earlier this month.
Following the meeting, Tia Robbin of the Northwest Montana Association of Realtors, said “it was a very productive session and people seemed to come away with the idea that even if Washington D.C. is so far away, they are in tune with the needs of rural America.”
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