Washington,DC – November 6, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.) worked to extend unemployment benefits, the homebuyers’ tax credit, and tax relief for military families and businesses to help stimulate the local economy and provide stability to American families hit hardest by the recession.
The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act (H.R. 3548), which passed the House of Representatives 403 – 12 Thursday afternoon, will provide immediate assistance to millions of workers, families, and businesses nationwide. Earlier this year, Rahall was joined by colleagues in the House in sending two letters to leadership urging the passage of legislation that would extend the Unemployment Insurance and the Homebuyers Tax Credit.
“This is crucial step to provide immediate relief to struggling West Virginians who have lost, or are on the verge of losing, their unemployment benefits and get our economy moving in the right direction,” Rahall said. “We are in tough times, and families need these benefits to buy food, pay rent or a mortgage, and to keep the heat and lights on. It’s an essential benefit – not a fringe benefit, which puts money into our economy.”
Rahall continued, “Extending unemployment benefits is a fast and cost-effective way to stimulate our economy. Every $1 spent on unemployment benefits generates $1.63 in new economic demand which translates into local economic growth.”
The extension is fully paid for and will provide families in all states with 14 weeks of additional benefits, and six more weeks to states such as West Virginia, where it is the most difficult for workers to find employment. Workers in high unemployment states who have exhausted or will soon exhaust their benefits will be eligible for a total of 20 additional weeks of emergency unemployment compensation. Currently in West Virginia there are approximately 3,756 workers, who are exhausting their unemployment insurance and are eligible for an extension, and 5,536 individuals who have filed for the Homebuyers Tax Credit.
The bill also includes an extension of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit through April 30, 2010 and provides a $6,500 credit to new purchasers who have lived in their current residence for five years or more. It also helps military families struggling to make mortgage payments by making those payments tax-exempt.
“Homebuilding has led this country out of every recession since World War II,” said Sandy Dunn, a West Virginia homebuilder and immediate past President of the National Association of Homebuilders. “I am so thrilled that Congress passed this legislation in a bipartisan way, and we are very grateful to Congressman Rahall for his support for the home building industry and all his efforts to get the economy going again.”
Finally, the bill will assist American businesses suffering from huge losses by allowing U.S. companies to carry back losses incurred in either 2008 or 2009 against income earned in any of the five prior years. In many cases, that would result in refunds to struggling businesses. Small businesses who have already elected to carry back 2008 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act may also elect to carry back losses from 2009.
“This legislation takes important, immediate steps to help stabilize southern West Virginia’s small businesses and strengthens our housing market, while extending unemployment benefits to individuals and families hit hardest by the recession” said Rahall. “These efforts are crucial to growing our economy and putting it back on track.”