House attempts to strengthen ecomony

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 10, 2001

There's no denying that our economy has been hurt by the terrorist attacks of last month. While Americans are pulling together, Congress is looking to enact economic incentives to help put more Americans back to work. Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Economic Security Act to help restore our economy to more solid footing.

A key component of this relief plan includes speeding up the tax relief on income taxes that became law earlier this year. This will mean real savings to people across-the-board. For example, Americans who received a partial rebate under this spring's tax relief bill will have their payments topped up to the full $300 for individuals and $600 for married couples. Those who filed a tax return in 2000 but were not eligible in the previous round would get a payment of $300 for individuals or $600 for couples.

The relief plan also will help states with unemployment benefits assist those who have lost their jobs as a result of the events on September 11.

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Many employees have their retirement savings invested in the stock market. In fact, nearly 84 million Americans n half of the households in the country n currently hold stock. To help them, the economic stimulus plan will allow deductions for capital losses for individuals. The current $3,000 deduction will be increased for two years

$4,000 in the first year and $5,000 in the second n allowing people who have suffered losses in the current economic environment to minimize the impact of those losses.

In order for our economy to grow, the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT) would be eliminated. The House-passed economic growth package permanently repeals the AMT and provides refunds to put resources in the hands of managers who must pay salaries and make capital investments. The AMT has been one of the biggest obstacles to investment for more than a decade.

To further promote job creation, the relief plan seeks additional expensing for small business. Small business will be able to write off even more of their capital investments — $35,000 annually for two years. That money can be directly invested in paying salaries and keeping their businesses afloat through tough economic times.

This economic package, which must now pass the U.S. Senate, is a good effort toward restoring our healthy economy. While I am not in total agreement with all the bill's provisions, it's a good start, and I believe the upcoming conference with the Senate will make it even better. Just as Americans look to Washington for their national security in these times of uncertainty, they should also know that lawmakers are devoted to strengthening our homeland prosperity. We are absolutely committed to accomplishing both.

Terry Everett is a U.S. Senator for the State of Alabama.