Obama, advisory council urge action to create jobs

By Jim Kuhnhenn

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 11 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

The projects listed by the administration include a highway connector in Provo, Utah; a 14-mile rail transit line in and around Baltimore; an Interstate 95 bridge over the Merrimack River in Massachusetts; a light rail project extension near Los Angeles International Airport; and a series of pending oil and gas applications for wells and pipelines in the Dakota Prairie and Little Missouri National Grasslands in North and South Dakota.

Another focus of the jobs council is increasing entrepreneurship by reducing regulations and providing incentives for private firms and startups to go public. It calls for eliminating capital gains taxes on investments of $25 million or less in a privately held company so long as that investment is held for at least five years. And it encourages new graduates to take entrepreneurial risks by creating a student loan repayment plan based on income.

It also steps into the politically charged debate over immigration. It proposes eased immigration rules for high-skilled foreigners, including automatic work permits or provisional visas to all foreign students after they earn science, technology, engineering or math degrees from U.S. colleges or universities.

"We are sympathetic to the political sensitivities around the topic of immigration reform," the council report states. "But when it comes to driving job creation and increasing American competitiveness, separating the highly skilled worker component is critical. We therefore call upon Congress to pass reforms aimed directly at allowing the most promising foreign-born entrepreneurs to remain in or relocate to the United States."

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