Murphy has reached out to businesses to understand the economy of the Fifth District. Since taking office, Murphy has met with nearly 30 Chambers of Commerce and visited more than 70 businesses, large and small, to see firsthand what powers the economy of the Fifth District.
* As the economy began to sour, Murphy supported important economic stimulus legislation to help jumpstart the sputtering economy. The economic stimulus legislation supported by a bipartisan majority in Congress and signed by the President provided a shot in the arm for an economy that was faltering. Under the legislation supported by Murphy, 1.4 million Connecticut families were eligible for a tax rebate, $28 billion in tax relief went to the 19 million working families with children who make too little to pay income taxes, and small businesses are eligible capital investment tax incentives (H.R. 5140, Roll Call 25).
* Murphy fought to lessen the burden of property taxes for Connecticut homeowners. Congressman Murphy pushed a provision to allow taxpayers who take the standard deduction on their federal income taxes to take an additional standard deduction of up to $350 ($700 for joint filers) for State and local real property taxes. Under current law, individuals who itemize their deductions can deduct both real estate property taxes and personal property taxes. Taxpayers who don't itemize are currently eligible to take the standard deduction. This middle class tax cut was included in H.R. 3221, the American Housing Rescue & Foreclosure Prevention Act, signed into law in July 2008 (H.R. 3221, Final Vote Roll Call 519).
* Murphy has supported and introduced legislation to provide tax incentives and breaks for middle class Americans and small businesses. Congressman Murphy introduced the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2007 and the Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2007. Both bills will provide for the permanent extension of important and reasonable tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses. Murphy has supported legislation to ensure that 72,000 taxpayers in Connecticut's 5th District were not unfairly hit by the Alternative Minimum Tax (H.R. 3996, Roll Call 1183).
* With unemployment on the rise, Murphy supported an extension of unemployment insurance benefits so that Americans who lose their jobs have the opportunity to get back on their feet. Understanding that the slowing economy can have dire affects on Connecticut families, Congressman Murphy supported a 13 week extension of unemployment benefits to ensure that every unemployed worker has 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), extending unemployment benefits is one of the most cost-effective and fast-acting forms of economic stimulus (H.R. 2642, Final Vote Roll Call 432).
* Murphy has pushed aggressively for bipartisan action to stabilize the nation's housing market and limit its negative affect on the nation's economy. Congressman Murphy strongly supported the passage of H.R. 3221, the American Housing Rescue & Foreclosure Prevention Act. The legislation is the most comprehensive response to our nation's mortgage crisis and will create a tough, independent regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will help keep hundreds of thousands of homeowners from foreclosure by allowing them to refinance their mortgages, will create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and provides tax incentives for first time homebuyers and a new property tax deduction for taxpayers who take the standard deduction (H.R. 3221, Final Vote Roll Call 519).
* With the buying power of the federal minimum wage at its lowest level in 51 years, Murphy supported legislation signed into law that will increase the federal minimum wage for the first time in 10 years. Today, because of this legislation, the federal minimum wage is now $6.55 - a full $1.40 more than in July 2007 when the first increase went into effect. Now, the 53% of full time workers who make the minimum wage and the 6.4 million children of parents who make the minimum wage, will see their wages and quality of life improve (H.R. 2206, Roll Call 424).