U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Encouraged To Support Economic Recovery Legislation
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is being urged by community and business leaders to support the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, landmark legislation that will assist Arizona as the state faces the largest budget crisis in its history. A vote on the legislation is expected this afternoon.
After weeks of discussion with local decision makers, U.S. Rep. Giffords stated that, "Arizonans are looking to the Congress to move swiftly to stem job losses and protect critical infrastructure like our public education system, healthcare for working families and support for small businesses. We need to act and act quickly."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that more than 500,000 American jobs are being lost each month. Passage of this bill is the crucial start to reverse this trend and put our economy back on track.
Deeply concerned about the nation's growing debt and deficit, Giffords has urged House leaders and President Obama to stay focused on the nation's long term goal of deficit reduction. She went on to say, "Although I am pleased that this legislation contains an historic level of transparency, oversight and accountability which will guarantee taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, I am concerned by the magnitude of this bill. I take seriously the responsibility to monitor these investments closely so Southern Arizona taxpayers see results."
In Arizona, the need for federal assistance is underscored by the state's budget crisis and latest jobless rate. Faced with a $1.6 billion state budget shortfall, Arizona posted a 6.9 percent unemployment rate in December, the highest since 1993.
Under the federal economic recovery bill, more than 125,000 jobs in Arizona are estimated to be saved or created by the end of 2010. Arizona will receive more than $6.5 billion in direct state funding. The assistance will be targeted towards areas and individuals in need including:
$585 million for Arizona highways and bridges
$277 million for modernization, renovation and repair of public schools
$1.1 billion in Pell grant funding, assisting 350,000 low-income college students
$18 million for youth employment and training
$4 million for low income home energy assistance
$1.9 billion in Medicaid funding
41,770 recipients of unemployment benefits
More than 2 million working Arizonans will also benefit from tax cuts in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through a refundable tax credit of up to $500 per worker or $1,000 per couple filing jointly. Additional tax breaks include:
The Child Tax Credit benefiting over 300,000 families with children in Arizona
College tax credit for approximately 75,000 low- and moderate-income students
Allowing businesses to improve cash flow by providing a 5-year carry back of net operating losses (NOLs). This would allow businesses to write off 90 percent of losses incurred in 2008 and 2009 against taxes assessed over the previous five years
"State and local leaders in Arizona have a very hard job to do during these difficult economic times," said Rep. Giffords. "I am committed to working together to help provide the necessary tools to get through this crisis and lead our state toward a stronger economic future."