by Congressman Michael Turner (OH-03)
Recently, Congress enacted the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 which will send more than $150 billion in economic stimulus to the American economy. This legislation is an important first step in jumpstarting our economy and boosting consumer confidence. The economic stimulus package will also provide direct assistance to millions of America’s neediest families and provide a benefit for America’s small businesses.
As we have all seen recently, there has been an unfortunate spike in energy prices and a decrease in housing values. Across the country, and Ohio in particular, this has had an overall negative impact on the economy. As a result, an agreement was reached between both branches of Congress and the President that would help the average American and also help business owners pay for new equipment. In order for this to happen, leaders of both parties in both houses of Congress as well as the President of the United States had to compromise and work together.
The most talked about element of the stimulus package is the “recovery rebate” check. This part of the stimulus plan will send checks to over 130 million Americans, including 5.3 million Ohioans. After filing their tax returns for 2008, many taxpayers will be eligible for a rebate check. The rebate check will pay a single person $600 and a couple $1,200 with an additional rebate of $300 for each eligible child. In order to be eligible for the full rebate checks, a single person must make between $3,000 and $75,000 of taxable income and a couple must make less than $150,000.The rebate checks will be phased down for those who earn above the income thresholds by taking five cents off of the check for every dollar of income above the limit. The checks are currently scheduled to go out as soon as May of this year.
The rebates have also been expanded to include senior citizens on social security and veterans receiving disability benefits. Individuals will need to have a social security number in order to receive the benefit. Because these benefits have been targeted to consumers it is more likely that they will spend the rebate checks.
Another key part of economic growth is making it easier on businesses to sell their products and make a profit. An important part of growing any business is investing in equipment to allow the company to operate more quickly and efficiently. The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 encourages business owners to invest in their companies by lessening the tax burden of buying new equipment. This legislation will allow 50% of this investment cost to be deducted for 2008. It also speeds up the process of asset depreciation which encourages business owners to invest even more capital in their companies.
I have worked consistently throughout my career to improve our local economy. I am proud of the work that has been done to bring jobs to the region and provide funding for important local priorities. This legislation was a compromise and a necessary first step toward improving our country’s economy. As Ohio moves through this turbulent economic period, I will continue to support legislation that benefits our community and our nation’s economy.
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