Highlights of Economic Stimulus Plan
Monday, February 2nd 2009, 4:34 pm
By: News 9
Staff and Wire Reports
The following are highlights of the $888 billion economic recovery plan drafted by Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama's economic team. Many provisions expire in two years.
Many Oklahoma lawmakers have voiced their opposition to the purposed bill.
- Aid to the poor and unemployed: $47 billion to provide extended unemployment benefits through Dec. 31, increase them by $25 a week and provide job training; $16.5 billion to increase food stamp benefits by 13 percent; $3 billion in temporary welfare payments.
- Direct cash payments: $17 billion to give one-time $300 payments to Social Security recipients, poor people on Supplemental Security Income, and veterans receiving disability and pensions.
- Health care: $26 billion to subsidize health care insurance for the unemployed under the COBRA program; $87 billion to help states with Medicaid; $24 billion to modernize health information technology systems; $5.8 billion for preventative care; $3.5 billion for health research and construction of National Institutes of Health facilities; $870 million to combat flu.
- Infrastructure: $46 billion for transportation projects, including $27 billion for highway and bridge construction and repair and $11.5 billion for mass transit and rail projects; $4.6 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers; $5 billion for public housing improvements; $6 billion for clean and drinking water projects.
- Education: $54 billion in state fiscal relief to prevent cuts in state aid to education; $26 billion to fund special education and the No Child Left Behind K-12 law; $19.5 billion for school modernization; $14 billion to boost the maximum Pell Grant by $500 to $5,350; $2.1 billion for Head Start.
- Energy: $14.4 billion for Energy Department energy efficiency and renewable energy programs; $4.6 billion for fossil fuel research and development; $6.4 billion to clean up nuclear weapons production sites; $4.5 billion toward a so-called "smart electricity grid" to reduce waste; $2.9 billion to weatherize modest-income homes.
- Law enforcement: $4 billion in grants to state and local law enforcement to hire officers and purchase equipment.
- $500 per-worker, $1,000 per-couple tax cut for two years, costing about $142 billion. For the last half of 2009, workers could expect to see about $20 a week less withheld from their paychecks starting in June. Millions of Americans who don't make enough money to pay federal income taxes could file returns next year and receive checks.
- Spare about 24 million taxpayers from being hit with the Alternative Minimum Tax in 2009, at a cost of about $70 billion. The change would save a family of four an average of $2,300. The tax was designed to make sure wealthy taxpayers can't use credits and deductions to avoid paying any taxes. But it was never indexed to inflation, so families making as little as $45,000 could get significant increases without the change. Congress addresses it each year, usually in the fall.
- Increase the earned-income tax credit -- which provides money to the working poor -- for families with at least three children, at a cost of $4.7 billion.
- Greater access to the $1,000 per-child tax credit for the working poor in 2009 and 2010, at a cost of $10.5 billion. Workers making as little as $6,000 a year who pay no income taxes would be eligible for checks.
- Provide a $2,500 tax credit for college tuition and related expenses for 2009 and 2010, at a cost of $13 billion. The credit is phased out for couples making more than $180,000. Low-income families that pay no income taxes can qualify for a portion of the credit.
- Repeal a requirement that a $7,500 first-time homebuyer tax credit be paid back over time for homes purchased from Jan. 1 to Sept. 1, unless the home is sold within three years, at a cost of $3.7 billion. The credit is phased out for couples making more than $150,000.
- Exclude from taxation the first $2,400 a person receives in unemployment compensation benefits in 2009, at a cost of $4.7 billion.
- Extend and increase tax credits to homeowners who make their homes more energy efficient, at a cost of $4.3 billion. Homeowners could receive tax credits of up to $1,500 for upgrading furnaces and hot water heaters and making other improvements through 2010.
- Provide an infusion of cash into money-losing companies by allowing them to claim tax credits on past profits dating back five years instead of two, at a cost of $19.5 billion.
- Allow money-losing businesses to apply a long list of business tax credits to taxes paid in the previous five years, providing them with refunds, at a cost of about $11 billion.
- Extend a provision allowing businesses buying equipment such as computers to speed up the depreciation of that equipment through 2009, at a cost of $5.3 billion.
- Repeal a Treasury provision that allowed firms that buy money-losing banks to use more of the losses as tax credits to offset the profits of the merged banks for tax purposes. The change would increase taxes on the merged banks by $7 billion over 10 years.
- Extend tax credits for renewable energy production, at a cost of $13 billion.