In an effort to help recharge Alaska's economy and hundreds of small businesses, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today supported legislation to extend the first-time homebuyer tax credit, and the expansion of a program allowing businesses to relieve their tax burden.
The Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act passed the Senate by a vote of
98 to 0. The Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Begich, continues the $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit through April 30, 2010, allowing purchasers with a valid contract an additional 60 days to close after that date. It also provides a $6,500 credit to new purchasers who have lived in their current residence for five years or more.
The net operating loss carryback provisions are expanded in the bill to allow U.S. companies of any size to carry back losses incurred in either 2008 or 2009 (but not both) against income earned in any of the five prior years. The bill also includes provisions that would make payments under the Military Homeowner Assistance Program tax-exempt for military personnel.
"Both of these measures will go help bolster our economy and retain jobs," Begich said. "We know the businesses who realized operating losses in 2009 will benefit greatly from a reduced tax burden. And giving first-time homebuyers a break on that huge purchase will make the difference for many who are considering homeownership."
The legislation passed today also extends unemployment benefits for out-of-work Americans in every state with an 8.5 percent rate by up to 14 weeks and up to 20 weeks in states whose rate is over 8.5 percent. Alaska's most recent unemployment rate was 8.4 percent for September and it could very well be higher by the time the legislation is enacted.
"We know we will see more layoffs in the coming months in Alaska. This bill will be there to assist Alaskans struggling to get back on their feet."
The bill is estimated to provide nearly two million jobless Americans whose benefits are set to expire by the end of the year and is fully paid for by an extension of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) through June 30, 2011.
"Stabilizing the housing market, helping businesses stay strong, and giving the unemployed a little extra time to find a job are all good measures that will benefit Alaskans and millions of other Americans while our economy continues to find its way through recovery," Begich said.