WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was joined by members of the Ohio Congressional Delegation for a joint news conference to outline how tax relief measures passed by Congress - including a tax cut for 98 percent of Americans - have helped working and middle class families across the state. Delegation members discussed how tax relief relating to home purchases, energy efficiency upgrades, vehicle purchases, and education have helped families across Ohio.
"Middle-class tax relief is a critical part of our economic recovery," Brown said. "That's why the President and Congress have worked to provide tax cuts for 99 percent of working families and individuals in Ohio. This is about reversing Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and replacing them with tax relief that helps all Ohio families afford education costs, housing, childcare, and energy efficiency improvements."
Over the past year, Sen. Brown has worked with the Democratic caucus to provide tax cuts for middle-class Ohioans. In the past year, due to cuts included in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, Ohio taxpayers saved an average of $1,046 on their tax returns. Ninety-nine percent of working families and individuals in Ohio benefitted from at least one of the tax cuts signed into law by President Obama. The Recovery Act also included:
• A refundable home buyer credit - Modification of a refundable tax credit that was equivalent to an interest-free loan equal to 10 percent of the purchase of a home (up to $7,500) by first-time home buyers. The Recovery Act eliminated the repayment obligation for taxpayers that purchase homes after January 1, 2009, increased the maximum value of the credit to $8,000, removed the prohibition on financing by mortgage revenue bonds, and extended the availability of the credit to homes purchased before December 1, 2009
• Energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives - Taxpayers are eligible for up to $1,500 in tax credits for making energy-efficiency improvements to their homes, such as adding insulation and installing energy efficient windows
• New vehicle purchases - Taxpayers can deduct the state and local sales taxes they paid for new vehicles purchased from February 17, 2009 through December 31, 2009 under the vehicles sales tax deduction. In states that don't have a sales tax, some other taxes or fees may be deducted
• Temporary suspension of taxation of unemployment benefits - A temporary suspension of the federal income tax on the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits per recipient in taxable year 2009. The average unemployment benefit is approximately $300 per month; and
• Expansion of 529 education plans - The list of qualified education expenses eligible to be funded from "529" tax-advantaged savings plans was expanded to include computers and computer technology. The American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act (H.R. 4213, amended), which the Senate passed in March, would extend several tax provisions that expired at the end of 2009, providing much-needed tax relief for individuals and businesses during this time of economic uncertainty. This includes tax cuts: 1)For teachers who buy classroom supplies out of their own pockets, so they can continue to provide quality education for tomorrow's workforce; 2) To help families afford college tuition, so our young people can get the world-class education they deserve without going broke; 3)To help families make homes more energy efficient and save money on utility bills while supporting jobs in the growing energy sector; and 4) To allow taxpayers to continue to deduct state sales tax on their federal tax returns, so families can continue to use the tax deductions they count on.
Brown was joined by U.S. Reps. Steve Driehaus (OH-01), Charlie Wilson (OH-06), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Dennis J. Kucinich (OH-10), Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Betty Sutton (OH-13), Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15), John Boccieri (OH-16), and Tim Ryan (OH-17).
*Italicized information from Senate Democratic Policy Committee*