Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Stimulus plan would help AZ's people and economy

Sens. McCain and Kyl should support the president's stimulus plan to help Arizona.

TUCSON -- More than 74,000 jobs would be created or saved in Arizona if Congress enacts the stimulus plan being pushed by President Obama, according to the White House.

The memo, released Wednesday, also claims that up to 2 million Arizonans will qualify for a tax cut of up to $1,000 if the proposal already approved by the U.S. House becomes law. It also says 75,000 Arizona families will be eligible for a new college tax credit and more than 200,000 people out of work will get an extra $100 a month in jobless benefits.

And it says Arizona will get enough money to modernize 193 schools "so our children have the labs, classrooms and libraries they need to compete in the 21st century economy.

The White House memo, sent to reporters around the country, is designed to persuade readers in Congress that a vote against the package is a vote against local help.

For example, it says that those 74,300 new jobs in Arizona would be in areas like health care and clean energy, with more than 90 percent of those in private industry. And the administration said that the tax cut would be "a down payment" on Obama's pledge during the campaign to cut the burden on 95 percent of families and is "designed to pay out immediately into workers' paychecks."

Another provision is designed to give more money to more than 204,000 workers who the White House says have lost their jobs in the recession. That extra $100 a month is on top of the maximum $240 a week Arizona law provides in jobless benefits.

It also would extend the jobless benefits to about 42,000 Arizonans who have exhausted the 26 weeks of payments normally allowed under state law.

- adapted from Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services in East Valley Tribune

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