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Archive for Saturday, February 7, 2009

Comparison of economic stimulus plans

February 7, 2009

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A comparison of the $827 billion economic recovery plan drafted by Senate Democrats and moderate Republicans with a $820 billion version passed by the House. Additional debt costs would add about $350 billion or more over 10 years. Many provisions expire in two years.

Spending

Aid to poor, unemployed:

• Senate — $47 billion to provide extended unemployment benefits through Dec. 31, increased by $25 a week, and provide job training; $16.5 billion to increase food stamp benefits by 12 percent through fiscal 2011 and issue a one-time bonus payment; $3 billion in temporary welfare payments.

• House — Comparable extension of unemployment insurance; $20 billion to increase food stamp benefits by 14 percent; $2.5 billion in temporary welfare payments; $1 billion for home heating subsidies and $1 billion for community action agencies.

Direct cash payments:

• Senate — $17 billion to give one-time $300 payments to Social Security recipients, poor people on Supplemental Security Income, and veterans receiving disability and pensions.

• House — $4 billion to provide a one-time additional Supplemental Security Income payment to poor elderly and disabled people of $450 for individuals and $630 for married couples.

Infrastructure:

• Senate — $46 billion for transportation projects, including $27 billion for highway and bridge construction and repair and $11.5 billion for mass transit and rail projects; $4.6 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; $5 billion for public housing improvements; $6.4 billion for clean and drinking water projects.

• House — $47 billion for transportation projects, including $27 billion for highway and bridge construction and repair and $12 billion for mass transit, including $7.5 billion to buy transit equipment such as buses; $31 billion to build and repair federal buildings and other public infrastructures; $12.4 billion in rail and mass transit projects.

Health care:

• Senate — $21 billion to subsidize health care insurance for the unemployed under the COBRA program; $87 billion to help states with Medicaid; $22 billion to modernize health information technology systems; $10 billion for health research and construction of National Institutes of Health facilities.

• House — $40 billion to subsidize health care insurance for the unemployed under the COBRA program or provide health care through Medicaid; $87 billion to help states with Medicaid; $20 billion to modernize health information technology systems; $4 billion for preventative care; $1.5 billion for community health centers; $420 million to combat avian flu; $335 million for programs that combat AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis.

Education:

• Senate — $79 billion in state fiscal relief to prevent cuts in education aid and provide block grants; $25 billion to school districts to fund special education and the No Child Left Behind K-12 law; $14 billion to boost the maximum Pell Grant by $400 to $5,250; $1.1 billion for Head Start.

• House — Similar aid to states and school districts; $21 billion for school modernization; $16 billion to boost the maximum Pell Grant by $500 to $5,350; $2 billion for Head Start.

Energy:

• Senate — About $40 billion for energy programs, focused chiefly on efficiency and renewable energy, including $2.9 billion to weatherize modest-income homes; $4.6 billion for fossil fuel research and development; $6.4 billion to clean up nuclear weapons production sites; $11 billion toward a so-called “smart electricity grid” to reduce waste; $8.5 billion to subsidize loans for renewable energy projects; and $2 billion for advanced battery systems.

• House — $28.4 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, including $6.2 billion to weatherize homes; $11 billion to fund a so-called “smart electricity grid” to reduce waste.

Homeland security:

• Senate — $4.7 billion for homeland security programs, including $1 billion for airport screening equipment and $800 million for port security.

• House — $1.1 billion, including $500 million for airport screening equipment.

Law enforcement:

• Senate — $3.5 billion in grants to state and local law enforcement to hire officers and purchase equipment.

• House — Comparable provision.

Taxes

New tax credit:

• House — About $145 billion for $500 per-worker, $1,000 per-couple tax credits in 2009 and 2010. For the last half of 2009, workers could expect to see about $20 a week less withheld from their paychecks starting around June. Millions of Americans who don’t make enough money to pay federal income taxes could file returns next year and receive checks. Individuals making more than $75,000 and couples making more than $150,000 would receive reduced amounts.

• Senate — The credit would phase out at incomes of $70,000 for individuals and couples making more than $140,000 and phase out more quickly, reducing the cost to $140 billion.

Expanded child credit:

• House — $18.3 billion to give greater access to the $1,000 per-child tax credit for the working poor in 2009 and 2010. Under current law, workers must make at least $12,550 to receive any portion of the credit. The change eliminates the floor, meaning more workers who pay no federal income taxes could receive checks.

• Senate — Sets a new income threshold of $8,100 to receive any portion of the credit, reducing the cost to $7.5 billion.

Expanded earned income tax credit:

• House — $4.7 billion to increase the earned-income tax credit — which provides money to the working poor — for families with at least three children.

• Senate — Same.

Expanded college credit:

• House — $13.7 billion to provide a $2,500 expanded tax credit for college tuition and related expenses for 2009 and 2010. The credit is phased out for couples making more than $160,000.

• Senate — Reduces the amount that can be refunded to low-income families that pay no income taxes, lowering the cost to $13 billion.

Homebuyer credit:

• House — $2.6 billion to repeal a requirement that a $7,500 first-time homebuyer tax credit be paid back over time for homes purchased from Jan. 1 to July 1, unless the home is sold within three years. The credit is phased out for couples making more than $150,000.

• Senate — Doubles the credit to $15,000 for homes purchased for a year after the bill takes effect, increasing the cost to $35.5 billion.

Home energy credit:

• House — $4.3 billion to provide an expanded credit to homeowners who make their homes more energy-efficient in 2009 and 2010. Homeowners could recoup 30 percent of the cost up to $1,500 of numerous projects, such as installing energy-efficient windows, doors, furnaces and air conditioners.

• Senate — Same.

Unemployment:

• Senate — $4.7 billion to exclude from taxation the first $2,400 a person receives in unemployment compensation benefits in 2009.

• House — No similar provision.

Bonus depreciation:

• House — $5 billion to extend a provision allowing businesses buying equipment such as computers to speed up its depreciation through 2009.

• Senate — Similar.

Money losing companies:

• House — $15 billion to allow companies to use current losses to offset profits made in the previous five years, instead of two, making them eligible for tax refunds.

• Senate — Allows companies to use more of their losses to offset previous profits, increasing the cost to $19.5 billion.

Government contractors:

• House — Repeal a law that takes effect in 2011, requiring government agencies to withhold 3 percent of payments to contractors to help ensure they pay their tax bills. Repealing the law would cost $11 billion over 10 years, in part because the government could not earn interest by holding the money throughout the year.

• Senate — Delays the law from taking effect until 2012, reducing the cost to $291 million.

Energy production:

• House — $13 billion to extend tax credits for renewable energy production.

• Senate — Same.

Bonds:

• House — $36 billion to subsidize locally issued bonds for school construction, teacher training, economic development and infrastructure improvements.

• Senate — $22.8 billion to subsidize locally issued bonds for school construction, industrial development and infrastructure improvements.

Repeal bank credit:

• House — Repeal a Treasury provision that allowed firms that buy money-losing banks to use more of the losses as tax credits to offset the profits of the merged banks for tax purposes. The change would increase taxes on the merged banks by $7 billion over 10 years.

• Senate — Same.

Auto sales:

• Senate — $11 billion to make interest payments on most auto loans and sales tax on cars deductible.

• House — No similar provision.

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