"America is in the midst of the worst economic storm since the Great Depression. Millions of people are hurting across the United States and
in my home state of New Jersey. Our nation's economy is in recession, and we must respond with every tool in our toolbox to put Americans back to work and rebuild our struggling economy."
Fixing the economy is the number one priority of Congress and the Obama Administration. It will take time, hard work and difficult choices to get out of this economic and fiscal crisis. Rep. Holt is working with the President and his colleagues in Congress to pass a comprehensive approach to create jobs, transition to sustainable energy, make health care more affordable, and address the housing crisis.
In February 2009, Rep. Holt helped pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, legislation that invests in programs proven to create jobs and provide a safety net to struggling families. It is one step in the ongoing effort to save and create jobs, provide tax relief to families, keep families in their homes, and stabilize the financial markets.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Congress passed and President Obama signed the Recovery and Reinvestment Act in order to save and create jobs, help struggling families, and establish sustainable growth for our economy. A White House report estimates that, as a result of this law, 100,000 new jobs will be created in New Jersey, including 8,000 in the 12th Congressional District.
The lawmakes important investments in various fields, including science research ($22 billion), transportation infrastructure improvement ($1.15 billion for New Jersey), education ($1.7 million to help New Jersey prevent the laying off of teachers), energy efficiency, health care, and the workforce (extending unemployment benefits through 2009 and extending health care coverage for unemployed workers). The law also creates a "Making Work Pay" tax credit for 95 percent of taxpayers and a $250 check for Americans who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Rep. Holt has set up a special Economic Recovery section on this website to provide comprehensive information on how New Jersey families, businesses, and communities will benefit and get their fair share from the economic recovery bill. For more information on the law's oversight, transparency, and accountability please visit http://www.recovery.gov/. For more information about available grants please visit grants.gov.
Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
On June 30, Rep. Holt supported the strongest reforms to the nation's financial system since the Great Depression. In supporting reform Rep. Holt said, "This is a strong reform package that will put the cops back on the beat on Wall Street and help give Americans confidence that the system works for individuals, families and small businesses -- not for big banks." Reform creates a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, stops the most abusive mortgage lending practices that contributed to the financial crisis of 2008, brings accountability to Wall Street, and prevents taxpayer-funded bailouts. On July 21, President Obama signed the bill into law.
Property Tax Relief
Rep. Holt championed an initiative -- now law -- to create a new property tax relief initiative to allow more than 600,000 New Jersey homeowners.
(and 30 million nationwide) who do not currently itemize on their federal tax returns to receive a tax deduction of $500 for single filers and $1,000 for joint filers. This provision was based on Holt's legislation, the Universal Homeowners' Tax Relief Act of 2007.
The property tax deduction has been extended through 2009, and Rep. Holt is working to further extend it for another five years.
Alternative Minimum Tax
More residents in New Jersey are affected by the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) than anywhere in the country. The AMT was originally enacted in 1969 to ensure that the wealthiest four hundred Americans paid at least some income taxes, yet it has slowly morphed into a middle income tax hike. Rep. Holt has supported efforts to protect New Jersey families from being hit by the AMT, most recently in February 2009 when he supported the inclusion of a provision in the economic recovery bill to prevent 25 million Americans, including 88,000 in Central New Jersey, from paying the AMT in 2009. He continues to work toward a permanent solution for the AMT.
CRS Report: The Alternative Minimum Tax for Individuals (2-19-09)
In January 2009, Rep. Holt reintroduced the Online Job Training Act of 2009, legislation that would provide grants to states to establish or improve workforce training programs on the Internet and make job training more accessible and convenient for prospective workers. The legislation is based on a successful online learning pilot program run by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and Rutgers University.
A member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Rep. Holt is involved in the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act. Holt also strongly supported the inclusion in the Economic Recovery bill of $3.95 billion for job training.
Fact Sheet: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Investing in the Workforce
CRS Report: The Workforce Investment Act (WIA): Program-by-Program Overview and Funding of Title I Training Programs (2-9-09)
Investing in Central NJ
Rep. Holt believes that, especially during this economic downturn when our local governments face deteriorating budgets, it is important to ensure that worthy community initiatives receive federal funding. Throughout his career in Congress, Rep. Holt has fought to secure funding for projects that create jobs and improve the quality of life in Central New Jersey.
For Fiscal Year 2009, Rep. Holt worked to secure funding for law enforcement in Hunterdon, infrastructure improvements in Middlesex, crime prevention in Mercer, and a successful education program based in Monmouth, to name a few examples. To prevent corruption of the earmark process, the House enacted with Rep. Holt's support new reforms to require all requests to be identified and publically disclosed.
Rep. Holt created Einstein's Alley to spur economic growth in Central New Jersey and to ensure our region's economic vitality. Einstein's Alley is working to make Central New Jersey a national leader in attracting and supporting innovative companies.
Like Silicon Valley or North Carolina's Research Triangle, Rep. Holt envisions making Einstein's Alley a home to vibrant communities, cutting-edge companies and productive workers whose unique assets and shared vision attract new, innovative industries and create many more good jobs to add to what we already have.
Rep. Holt continues to work with Einstein's Alley to help Central New Jersey become a nationally recognized, world-class economic powerhouse.