The measure is a scaled-down version of three economic stimulus packages that passed the GOP-controlled House since Sept. 11, but were rebuffed by the Democrat-controlled Senate. However, the fourth attempt received wide bipartisan support, passing 417-3.
The centerpiece of the legislation is a 13-week extension of unemployment checks, giving a boost to an estimated 1.6 million people who’ve exhausted their jobless benefits. However, absent in the bill are many of the $100 billion in corporate tax cuts original sought by House Republicans. Business breaks of about $43 billion that survived include:
A 30 percent accelerated depreciation for the cost of renovations of leased stores and purchases of new equipment.
A provision allowing companies in financial trouble — like many textile mills — to recoup current losses by applying them against income from up to five years prior when business was profitable. Current law allows so-called net operating loss carrybacks of up to two years.
A three-year renewal of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, widely used by retailers who receive a $2,400 rebate on the first $6,000 paid hard-to-employ workers like ex-convicts, veterans and welfare recipients.
A Work Opportunity Tax Credit targeted just for employers with 200 or fewer workers near New York’s Ground Zero and funding of $17 billion in tax-exempt bonds to help finance reconstruction in the area.
House passage of tax credits for New York occurred as President Bush announced $5.5 billion in additional Sept. 11 recovery aid to the city, bringing to $21.3 billion in federal funds. The additional aid fulfills Bush’s promise of delivering $20 billion in help.
As far as the tax legislation, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D., S.D.), appeared to favor bringing the bill to a vote and sending it to the President. Daschle said the legislation was “long overdue.”
For his part, the President told reporters: “I look forward to signing it. It’s time to get a bill.”