There's a better way forward

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By Congressman Bob Goodlatte

This past week the House of Representatives considered the so called “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act”.  This legislation, which will cost the American taxpayers more than $1.1 trillion including interest, is just another example of wasteful Washington spending at its worst disguised as an economic stimulus bill.  The goal of this legislation was to provide tax relief to families and invest in infrastructure.  Unfortunately, the legislation has been loaded up with pork barrel spending like $600 million to buy new cars for government workers, $44 million for repairs to the U.S. Department of Agriculture headquarters, $355 million for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and the list goes on and on.  

In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its review of the spending contained in the “economic stimulus” legislation.  The CBO concluded that this legislation will not jump-start the American economy now when we need it most.  Instead of offering tax cuts, which put more money into the hands of consumers quickly, the Democrats’ bill relies on slow government spending. Only 15 percent of the money included in the bill will be spent this year.

 Nothing is more important to me than ensuring the future growth of our economy.  While I do not support the “Recovery and Reinvestment Act”, I strongly supported and voted for alternative legislation which focuses on creating jobs and tax relief for American families and small businesses. It has been estimated that the Republican economic stimulus proposal could create 6.2 million jobs over the next two years.

Our economic stimulus legislation offers immediate tax relief for working families.  Rather than a refundable credit based on payroll taxes, our proposal reduces the lowest individual tax rates from 15% to 10% and from 10% to 5%.  As a result every American taxpayer will see an immediate increase in their income.

I also believe that we need to ensure assistance for America’s small businesses.  Small businesses are crucial to our economy and account for a significant majority of new product ideas and innovation.  Small businesses are also central to the American dream of self-improvement and individual achievement which is why it is so vital that Congress enact legislation which reduces the tax burdens that hinder small businesses and ultimately overall economic growth and job creation.  Small businesses employ about half of all Americans, yet they can be subject to tax rates that siphon away one-third of their income.  To ensure the future stability of America’s small businesses, our economic stimulus legislation allows small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20% of their income.  This will immediately free up funds for small businesses to retain and hire new employees.

Another key component of our economic stimulus plan is assistance for the unemployed.  Surprisingly, the Federal Government imposes income taxes on an individual receiving unemployment benefits.  We must make unemployment benefits tax free which will allow individuals between jobs to focus on providing for their family.

Finally, our economic stimulus plan takes the first steps toward stabilizing home values.  Our real-estate market has been paralyzed. In order to encourage responsible buyers to enter the market and stabilize prices, our proposal provides a home-buyers tax credit of $7,500 for those buyers who can make a minimum down-payment of 5%.


Our economy faces historic and unprecedented challenges.  A massive increase in government spending is simply not the answer to this current crisis.  I remained committed to working with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to enact responsible legislation which puts money back into the hands of those who can really turn our economy around – the American people and small businesses.