Issue Position: Taxes - Economic Stimulus
On February 7, 2008, the Senate passed H.R. 5140, an economic stimulus package, the bulk of which is focused on income tax rebates that some say will boost our economy by encouraging consumer spending. However, this legislation is a political response to an economic problem. We would be better off investing in things that will truly make our economy stronger - like investment tax credits and accelerated depreciation. In the end, I decided that the cost of the package is too much to saddle our children with in additional debt, for a bill that will have a questionable effect on our economy. Therefore, I opposed this stimulus package because it is akin to trying to raise the level of the ocean by pouring in a glass of water. This legislation was signed into law by the President on February 13.
The bill includes taxpayer rebates of $600 for single filers ($1200 for married filing jointly) and a $300 per child bonus. The rebates would only be available to individuals and families reporting at least $3000 in income and they are phased out for single filers who make more than $75,000 and $150,000 for a married couple filing jointly. H.R. 5140 also allows seniors, disabled veterans and widows of disabled veterans to qualify for rebate checks by counting Social Security benefits and VA disability payments toward the $3,000 earned income test.
Some constituents have expressed concerns about the eligibility of illegal immigrants to receive a rebate. I supported an amendment that clarified only those in this country legally would be allowed to receive these rebates. Following the passage of this amendment, the legislation requires a valid Social Security number to claim the base rebate and per child bonus. While I question the wisdom of the rebates, we certainly should stipulate that only those in this country legally should be able to receive them.
You know best how to spend, save and invest your money; not someone in Washington. I continue to believe the best course of action to strengthen our economy is by permanent low tax rates, which will strengthen the individual economic power of our citizens.