Recent projections of a slow recovery in the labor market prompted the effort, which would also keep 5,500 law enforcement officers on the beat, allow localities to hire additional firefighters, and provide on-the-job training to help local businesses create employment opportunities.

The letter pointed to high unemployment, particularly for young people and communities of color.  February’s unemployment report revealed an overall jobless rate of 10 percent.  However, among African-Americans the jobless rate was a staggering 16 percent, 12 percent for Latinos, and 25 percent among young people.

In Illinois, the proposal is supported by Reps. Davis, Gutierrez, Hare, Jackson, Rush, and Schakowsky.