Ms. Blank, a former dean at the University of Michigan, met with university researchers and local business executives as well as The Blade's editorial board.
Though the jobs bill failed to make it through the Democratic-controlled Senate on Tuesday, Ms. Blank said individual parts of the bill have a good chance of being passed.
Ms. Blank said the country has had two years of continued economic growth and that consumer spending is "stable," but that the slow rate of growth -- between 1 and 2 percent -- isn't helping to bring down unemployment or boost real estate values.
"This is exactly the kind of situation where government spending can make a difference, where you want to put a little bit of extra wind under the sails of American businesses and American families," Ms. Blank said.
The jobs bill includes tax cuts for businesses that hire, payroll tax cuts for taxpayers, and tax credits for the chronically unemployed. It also would have put federal money into helping states hire teachers, firefighters, and police officers, and would have made money available for infrastructure and school construction. The President has proposed to pay for it by higher taxes on wealthier Americans.
"This is definitely a short-term investment. It's designed for one year to get as many dollars out the door as you possibly can," Ms. Blank said. "Given the number of people who are still unemployed, pushing the economic growth up in the short run by a point or two, with the idea that over the long run we'll really raise economic growth in ensuing years, push it up to 2 and 2 1/2, or in some reports, 3 percent, the long-term benefits of that are just huge," she said.
She said 200,000 Ohio companies would benefit from cutting the payroll tax and 14,200 teachers and first-responders would be rehired. The bill also extends unemployment insurance, which would benefit 80,000 in Ohio, and cut payroll taxes in half, for an average savings per family of $1,430, she said.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, said the jobs bill would push the country further into debt while not creating the jobs and economic growth promised. He called for "tax reform, smart regulatory relief, robust domestic energy production, an aggressive new trade policy that expands exports, better worker retraining to create a competitive work force, and a credible plan to rein in Washington's record debt and deficits."
Ms. Blank also hosted a White House Business Council roundtable meeting. One of those business owners, Bruce Rumpf, president of Job1USA, said many businesses had a "great" 2010 and are doing pretty well so far in 2011, but he said there's a lack of vision that would lead to an overall turnaround in the economy.
"Doing nothing is not stimulating the economy. Everybody feels we need a stimulus. President Obama may not have it exactly right, but he does have it right as far as tax relief for the individual worker and businesses," Mr. Rumpf said.
About Mr. Obama's plan to raise taxes on the rich, Mr. Rumpf said there was no consensus at the meeting.
Also represented at the business roundtable event were UT's college of business and innovation; Nextronex Energy Systems LLC; Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce; The Blade; Impact Products LLC; Owens-Illinois Inc.; Daavlin Distributing Co. of Bryan; Ugly Data Inc.; Xunlight Corp.; SSOE Group; New Waste Concepts Inc. of Perrysburg, and Shopmetrics Inc.
Ms. Blank also touted a new federal initiative called Select USA. She said the program will interject the federal government for the first time into helping states attract new businesses from other countries or convince American companies to stay here rather than move to another country.
At UT, Ms. Blank toured the Clean and Alternative Energy Business Incubator, a program aimed at helping local clean energy companies grow.
Contact Tom Troy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6058.