In an effort to spur immediate economic growth, Congress and the White House worked together to pass a bipartisan plan that will put money back in the pockets of many families and provide small businesses with incentives to create jobs.
Under the plan, many workers who earned at least $3,000 in 2007 will qualify for a check ranging from $300 to $600 for individuals, or $600 to $1,200 for married couples. Payments would phase out beginning with individuals earning more than $75,000, and for married couples earning more than $150,000. In addition, qualified families will receive an additional $300 for each dependent child under the age of 17.
This plan also ensures an estimated 20 million seniors and a quarter million veterans will qualify to receive checks.
Job creation must also be a focus of any plan to grow the economy. By giving business owners enhanced tax deductions we can offer them significant incentives to continue providing jobs for American workers.
And, I'm pleased that the economic growth plan contains no unrelated spending or tax increases, as some in Congress had pushed for.
While the economic growth package isn't perfect, with checks expected to hit mailboxes as soon as May, it will get money into the hands of families quickly and help small businesses grow. That's why I supported this measure - to provide a short-term boost to our economy.
However, if we are to achieve long-term economic growth and security, the 2001 and 2003 tax relief plans must be made permanent. Not taking this action means tax increases for every American, a return of the marriage tax penalty and the death tax, and a 50 percent cut in the child tax credit.
Congress must also act quickly to restore the state sales tax deduction which expired in 2007. Without an extension, Washingtonians won't be able to deduct state sales tax from their federal tax responsibilities next year. Renewing the deduction would continue tax fairness, bring greater predictability to the tax code, and encourage economic growth.
In the same way that Republicans and Democrats agreed on a bipartisan stimulus plan that infuses money into our economy by putting it back in the hands of taxpayers, Congress must now work together on a long-term economic plan.
Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) represents Central Washington's Fourth Congressional District.