Sen. Carper Casts Finance Committee Vote for Economic Recovery Bill to Create Jobs, Cut Taxes

Newest Finance Committee Member, Carper Emphasizes Environmental Improvements

WASHINGTON  – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) today cast his first vote as a new Senate Finance Committee member in support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to provide more than $350 billion in tax cuts and investments to create jobs and provide relief for working families and businesses.

The Finance Committee’s economic recovery bill also contains another $180 billion in investments to help unemployed Americans keep their health care coverage and find new jobs, and to help states like Delaware that face budget gaps meet growing demands for Medicaid and other essential services.  The bill will be combined with a separate spending package that passed the Senate Appropriations Committee before it’s brought to the Senate floor for consideration, likely sometime next week. 

“These tough economic times mean we must act boldly and swiftly to stabilize our economy and create jobs,” Sen. Carper said. “I believe this economic recovery plan will stimulate consumer and business demand to help spur our economic recovery.”

Sen. Carper, also a leading member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, was a strong supporter of the bill’s many energy tax credits, including ones to extend the renewable energy production tax credit, enhance energy research, domestic manufacturing of clean energy technologyand  to produce and sell more plug-in electric vehicles. The committee accepted Sen. Carper’s own energy amendment to better ensure oil companies monitor and secure their underground carbon storage facilities.

“This economic recovery package extends production tax credits for wind, biofuels and other renewable sources of energy that are crucial to creating green jobs and making Delaware’s offshore wind farm competitive,” Sen. Carper said. “We also provide tax credit bonds to help finance state and local government efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.”

Sen. Carper also worked with Sen. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to include a provision making sure transit benefits are subject to the same tax treatment that parking benefits receive.  Currently, employers can write off as a business expense up to $230 in parking benefits per month per employee, but only $120 per month in transit benefits. 

“We talk a lot about the need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Sen. Carper said. “The passage of this amendment uses our tax code to do just that by providing Americans with the same employer-based transit benefits as parking benefits.  Offering an affordable and convenient alternative to commuting by car will also help Americans save money – as much as $1,800 a year, according to a recent study by the American Public Transit Association – at a time when working Americans need more savings.”

In terms of important health care measures, Sen. Carper stressed the importance of an additional $86 billion nationwide to provide essential health care services to low-income Americans, pointing to a four percent growth in Delaware’s Medicaid recipients over the last year.

The senator also praised provisions in the bill to improve health information technology systems that cut down on medical errors and duplicative testing, while improving overall health care and cutting costs. Delaware has been a leader in health information technology and this bill will help Delaware’s own network expand to better serve patients in the state. 

Tax cuts and investments in the bill to create and retain JOBS include:  

Tax cuts allowing businesses to write-off more assets, freeing up cash for payroll and other expenses
– About $30 billion in tax cuts and incentives to create jobs in green energy from wind and solar to energy efficiency
Tax provisions to finance and create jobs in school construction
Tax cuts and investments to create jobs on highways, building projects
– Investments to create jobs and reduce health care costs through health information technology

Tax cuts and investments to help FAMILIES include: 

A tax cut to “Make Work Pay” by putting $1,000 in 95 percent of Americans’ paychecks
Tax cuts for parents by increasing the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit
– Tax cuts to help families to buy homes and pay for college education
One-time payments to disabled veterans and beneficiaries of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and Railroad Retirement
Investments to help the unemployed buy COBRA health coverage
– Investments in health care coverage for families moving from welfare to work
An extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance for out-of-work Americans
Additional unemployment insurance, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and enhanced child support enforcement to help family finances
A refundable first-time homebuyer tax credit