President Barack Obama said Thursday he plans to hold a forum in December at the White House on jobs and economic growth.

The announcement came about a week after the Labor Department announced that the nation’s unemployment rate had reached 10.2 percent, the highest since 1983. “We’ll gather CEOs and small-business owners, economists and financial experts, as well as representatives from labor unions and nonprofit groups, to talk about how we can work together to create jobs and get this economy moving again,” said Obama. “It's important that we don't make any ill-considered decisions — even with the best intentions — particularly at a time when our resources are so limited. But it’s just as important that we are open to any demonstrably good idea to supplement the steps we’ve already taken to put America back to work.”

Among the proposals expected to be discussed at the forum are tax credits to support job growth. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., is preparing to introduce a jobs tax credit bill, and he said he welcomed the jobs summit. “While our nation faces serious challenges at home and abroad, creating jobs in this down economy must be a top priority,” he said in a statement. “I very much hope the temporary jobs tax credit I am developing will be considered by those attending the jobs summit.”

The Economic Policy Institute has also recommended a job creation tax credit proposal that would target businesses, nonprofits and government agencies that add to payroll over the next two years. The credit would cover 15 percent of expanded payroll costs in 2010 and 10 percent in 2011, and would create an estimated 2.8 million jobs in 2010 and 2.3 million in 2011.

However, Republicans were skeptical about the upcoming summit. “Americans are asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ but all they are getting from out-of-touch Washington Democrats is more spending, more debt, and now, more talk,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a statement. “The nation’s jobs crisis demands immediate action, which is why Republicans sent a letter to the president last month reiterating our common-sense solutions to help small businesses create jobs and get the economy moving again.”

The letter proposed, among other things, allowing small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income, and lowering taxes for all taxpayers by reducing the current 15 percent rate to 10 percent, and the current 10 percent rate to 5 percent.

“This morning, the White House said they were ‘shaking every tree’ for solutions,” said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., in a statement. “If the White House is sincere in that goal, I welcome their consideration of Republican ideas and solutions to get people working again.”


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