On Thursday, Congressman André Carson joined his House colleagues in voting to extend unemployment benefits, the homebuyers' tax credit, and tax relief for military families and businesses.
The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act will provide families in all states with 14 additional weeks of unemployment benefits. Beyond this preliminary increase, an additional six weeks is provided to the 27 states with the highest unemployment rates, where it is most difficult for workers to find employment. Workers in these high unemployment states who have exhausted or will soon exhaust their benefits will be eligible for a total of 20 additional weeks of emergency unemployment compensation.
The Congressional Budget Office has cited unemployment benefits as one of the most cost-effective forms of economic stimulus, and every dollar spent on unemployment benefits generates $1.63 in new demand, according to Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi.
"Today's passage of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act will bring critical relief to thousands of out of work Hoosiers and will be a great step towards long-term financial growth," said Congressman Carson. "Families across our city who receive these benefits will not only be able to make ends meet for themselves and their families. They will be putting money right back into our local economy -- buying groceries, filling their cars with gas, and making their mortgage payments on time."
The bill also includes an extension of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit through April 30, 2010 and provides a $6,500 credit to new purchasers who have lived in their current residence for five years or more. It also helps military families struggling to make mortgage payments by making those payments tax-exempt.
"Our recent housing crisis has made it more difficult than ever for responsible, qualified individuals to fulfill the dream of homeownership. By extending the first-time homebuyer tax credit, these potential homeowners will have a renewed opportunity to secure a mortgage and purchase their own home. These efforts are crucial to growing our economy and putting it back on sound footing."
Lastly, to breathe life back into American businesses suffering from huge losses, this bill provides significant tax breaks to small businesses, allowing them to carry back losses incurred in either 2008 or 2009 against income earned in any of the five prior years.
"Small business is the engine of our economy. Yet, in our ongoing recession, many have been forced to close their doors because of an unbearable tax burden. The tax breaks created with this legislation will immediately begin alleviating this incredible imposition, better enabling these businesses to once again begin driving our economy out of recession.