Opinion

Economic rescue package means 23,000 jobs and much more for Nebraska

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nebraska is often insulated from bad economic times, but we are definitely feeling the effects now of the recession with job layoffs and business closings. The economic recovery bill passed into law, while not perfect, will help prevent a further deepening in Nebraska while tossing a lifeline to millions of Americans who are already hurt by the sinking economy.

The stimulus plan will create or save 3 to 4 million jobs nationally, including 23,000 in Nebraska. It will send about $1.1 billion to Nebraska not including the tax cuts and unemployment insurance improvements. As its effects ripple through our economy it will help teachers, health care professionals, construction workers, small businesses and many other Nebraskans from across the state impacted by the worsening economy. Additionally, new tax cuts for families and businesses will brighten our future.

Many respected economists said we had to something to avoid a depression. That said, I was concerned about the scope of the initial plan and worked with a bipartisan group of moderates to successfully cut $108 billion from the bill so it will more effectively create jobs and stimulate the economy.

The end result won the support of the National Governors Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, United States Chamber of Commerce, the Omaha Chamber of Commerce and many other leading business groups.

Investments

The bill has $48 billion for roads, railways and bridges that will put people to work upgrading our nation's infrastructure. Nebraska will receive over $240 million for these projects.

There's $53.6 billion dollars to help states preserve educational services, rebuild schools, and support critical services in the State Fiscal Stabilization fund and a general purpose fund. Over $280 million dollars will come to Nebraska to directly support our economy from this fund.

The bill also provides funding to support clean water, flood control and environmental projects which will deliver nearly $40 million to our state. It provides $12 million for law enforcement drug task forces to fight illegal drug trafficking.

To help maintain health care services for thousands of low income Nebraskans, the bill provides $310 million in Medicaid funding, which also helps ease the burden on our state budget.

Together, these critical investments will not only preserve jobs and put people back to work, but will make a down payment on our state's growing and unmet educational and infrastructure needs which we stand to benefit from for years to come.

Tax Cuts

Some have complained the plan has only 25 percent in tax cuts, which is not quite right. About 63 percent of the final stimulus plan goes for investments, while 37 percent focuses on taxes. There's immediate tax relief for 95 percent of middle income workers through an income tax cut of up to $400 per worker and $800 per couple. That's money people can use to pay electricity or gas bills, to buy school clothes for children, or fix up a car.

The bill cuts taxes for families by expanding the child tax credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, increases relief from the marriage penalty and increases the higher education tax credit.

It helps more than 4 million additional students attend college with a new, partially refundable $2,500 tax credit for families.

It protects 26 million middle-class families nationally -- 90,000 of them right here in Nebraska - from being hit by the unfair Alternative Minimum Tax..

It helps homebuyers and the home building industry by providing an $8,000 tax credit for first time homebuyers that does not need to be repaid.

There are "green" tax credits as well to help make the country more energy efficient while creating jobs including tax breaks to weatherize homes. In addition, the auto industry gets a big boost by allowing people who buy new vehicles to deduct the sales tax.

Tax Incentives for Business

The bill assists companies to reduce debt and provides incentives to create new jobs with tax credits for hiring recently discharged veterans and youth who've been out of work for 6 months. All told, the tax incentives for businesses in this bill are worth $76 billion in 2009 and 2010.

When effects of the bill kick in and the economy comes back firing on all eight cylinders I will work hard to make sure the revenue generated from all the new jobs is devoted to paying off the debt. The tools are now in place for economic recovery setting the stage for a promising future.

Comments
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  • The "initial plan" that came in front of the Senator was for $819 billion and through negotiations and amendments, it came out of the Senate at $838 billion...an increase of $19 billion not a decrease of $108 billion. If you look at the other perspective, the "initial plan" was still $819 billion and the House and Senate agreed to $787 billion... a decrease of $787 billion, a lot of which came from your tax cut plan but still not $108 billion. Senator Nelson would like to use the amount the bill reached at the highest stage of the negotiation process and not the true "initial plan" which only could have come from the House of Representatives. Deception is not very becoming of anyone, especially not one of our former residents.

    -- Posted by McCook1 on Mon, Feb 16, 2009, at 5:22 PM
  • *

    Ben Nelson is nothing but a puppet for the Liberal left in Washington. Do the math. Each new job cost us over $200,000, hardly a bargain or anything to be excited over.

    Nelson voted for a bill that he had not even read. Seems odd there was such a rush to pass the bill only to have it sit for four days waiting for Obama's signature.

    Ben Nelson represents Liberal Washington not Nebraska.

    -- Posted by ksfarmer on Mon, Feb 16, 2009, at 7:17 PM
  • *

    Ben Nelson - A socialist representing Nebraska. I did not realize there were that many socialist in Nebraska.

    Ben Nelson - Sold your kids and grandkids right down the tubes for a pat on the back from Obama.

    Ben Nelson - Acts like a conservative when he wants your vote, then rubs elbows with the Socialist when in DC.

    Ben Nelson - Getting rich as a Senator, while doing his best to break the rest of us.

    Ben Nelson - a turd by any other name, is still a turd.

    -- Posted by sameldridge on Mon, Feb 16, 2009, at 11:55 PM
  • Name calling doesn't get a person anywhere. Voting does. If you didn't agree with the stimulus package (1) don't accept the tax cuts or breaks that it might bring you and (2) vote differently next time (3) run for office yourself. I'm getting sick of EVERYONE complaining about how much this stimulus package is. If it puts people back to work, people buying American made, our dollar worth more, then WHY NOT? Pres Bush sure didn't have a problem spending over $1 trillion (& counting) on the war on terrorism (according to Time Magazine). Of course, what does the price of protection cost these days? What about the cost of protecting our futures, our jobs? Pres Bush made it so easy to have corporations outsource their work to other countries that in turn made many Americans lose their jobs. Stop blaming everyone else Republican Democrat, and start working towards something together. We need to protect and rebuild here at home and stop fighting against each other.

    -- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Feb 17, 2009, at 7:58 AM
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    Hey RuralCitizen, I cannot run for office, I have a conscience. It was not Bush than ran businesses overseas, it was YOUR liberals in government. They hate business, and look at business as nothing more than a cash cow for their own delight.

    You are right in that I will not accept any money from the government, of any kind, for any reason. I consider it poison, it is stolen money, fabricated money, and it will hurt whatever it comes in contact with.

    AND NO! I will not work with the Socialists to ruin this country. Sorry. But their are plenty of chumps out there that will take heed to your feeble arguments. To the left, working together means accepting far left ideas and socialism. You never ever, never ever, never ever...see the guys on the left compromising to work with the guys on the right.

    America now OWES more than all of the rest of the Worlds Gross National Product. So, explain to me, and maybe you can get the answer from the Socialist Ben Nelson, how printing more money will put people back to work?

    Maybe you are looking for farm welfare. Is that it? You want money to not farm? You want money for doing nothing? I'm just asking.

    Whenever we want tax cuts, the Democrats run amok, saying that we can't afford it. Whenever the government wants more money, they just flat take it, whether I can afford it or not.

    You are being deceived and manipulated.

    -- Posted by sameldridge on Tue, Feb 17, 2009, at 10:22 AM
  • If the government refuses to increase my taxes to pay for this bill then I would GLADLY refuse the tax breaks. The tax breaks only last 2 years. They plan to pay for those tax breaks over 10 years. I would rather turn down 2 years of tax breaks than pay increased taxes for 10 years. It's just a part of the fiscal irresponsibility that went into this bill.

    Unfortunately, this bill is aimed at benefitting the government more than the American economy and they will be back to ask for more, guaranteed.

    Ah yes, the "Bush did it, so can we" mentality. Like this bill, that kind of thinking is just bad policy.

    -- Posted by McCook1 on Tue, Feb 17, 2009, at 10:23 AM
  • *

    I just looked up Ben Nelson on Wikipedia. They say that Ben Nelson is a leading "conservative Democrat" in the Senate.

    Where in the world did they get that idea from?

    -- Posted by sameldridge on Tue, Feb 17, 2009, at 11:08 AM
  • Sam, for one, I'm not a farmer and don't accept ANY govt money nor will I. I work hard for what I've got and do whatever it takes to keep it not owing ANYONE ANYTHING. So what everyone is saying, lets blame the DEMS because they want to spend money to keep money here in America. But it was OK to spend a trillion overseas while watching our own American children sink further into poverty? By the way, I'm a registered Rep and am sick of both sides blaming the other. Everyone needs to buckle up and start paying attention to themselves.

    -- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Feb 17, 2009, at 11:35 AM
  • And McCook1 -- what would "President" McCain be doing right now? I know, spending more money overseas and NOT HERE IN OUR OWN COUNTRY! and we'd be watching the economy get even worse and no light at the end of the tunnel.

    -- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Feb 17, 2009, at 11:37 AM
  • Lemme see now, 838 Billion, OK. Add that to the (how much was it?) 750 Billion just four months ago. Doesn't that add up to 1.588 Trillion?

    But then, The Auto Industry is already back asking for Billions more. Makes me want to sing that old old song about having a bucket with a hole in it.

    That means we have already spent about 6,000$ per living citizen in this country, all ready. Hmmm.

    I has just deductulated that Thar aint not any way I can pay off my part of the debt, before I graduate to my maker. Some lucky person, perhaps my grandchild, or great-grandchild, gets to bale me out for the greed and corruption of today's leaders.

    Did this fiasco just materialize over the past eight years? NO! Is any one governmental party responsible? NOPE! This problem has been in the making since the 1920's, when our government set into place a system of making sure no one must suffer poverty, or want. So, Ninty years later, we have greater poverty, and greater want, and much greater corruption. Aren't we lucky we voted wisely? Aren't we lucky we hired people to run our affairs, savings, and retirement, so that they could make millions of bonus dollars for allowing our monies to evaporate into their pockets, and where-ever money evaporates to, where it don't come back. Arley Steinhour

    End of my tirade. N E X T. . . . .And the next batter is:

    -- Posted by Navyblue on Tue, Feb 17, 2009, at 4:09 PM
  • Oh, YES, Ben, Please do America a favor. When HR40 gets to the Senate, trying to make the taxpayers pay the Retribution for having Slaves act, or whatever it is going to be called. Not one penny sir, not one penny to the 'poor' descendants of people who were slaves over 150 years ago.

    Right now, the 'House' wants to spend eight million to come up with how much each black person should be paid, for the suffering and loss of their fore-fathers.

    Respectfully submitted for you to know my opinion.

    Arley Steinhour

    -- Posted by Navyblue on Tue, Feb 17, 2009, at 4:18 PM
  • ben things will work out i just hope this stimulus money is not going into the omaha district to pay for our new stadium and is used to fix some of the roads that need fixed.

    -- Posted by nobody on Tue, Feb 17, 2009, at 6:52 PM
  • Rural Citizen, I wasn't aware that McCain was ever a part of this discussion since the election was decided over 3 months ago. I'm not sure if you're aware of this but Obama is spending more money overseas too, we ARE watching the economy get even worse and we just passed a bill that will end up costing us at least $1.2 Trillion with no plan to pay for it. Our children and grandchildren will go further into debt than we've already put them with no end in sight. I'm not seeing any light at the end of this tunnel either.

    -- Posted by McCook1 on Wed, Feb 18, 2009, at 9:53 AM
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