Press Release

Gillibrand Announces Senate Passage Of Extended Unemployment Benefits For Job Seekers, Tax Credits For First-Time Homebuyers, Assistance For Small Businesses

Nov 4, 2009

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator
Kirsten Gillibrand announced the U.S. Senate tonight passed new legislation
that will provide economic assistance to millions of New York families and
businesses by extending unemployment benefits for an additional 20 weeks,
extending the first-time homebuyer tax credit for another five months, and
providing targeted tax relief for businesses of all sizes to free up capital,
save and create new jobs. Senator Gillibrand, who strongly pushed for these
measures and co-sponsored the legislation, emphasized that cutting taxes for
homebuyers and providing assistance to unemployed job seekers will stimulate
economic growth and help businesses retain jobs.

“Our economic recovery is not complete until every hardworking New Yorker has
access to a good-paying job,” Senator Gillibrand said. “The legislation we
passed today is another step in the right direction. It will help millions of
New Yorkers who were hit hardest by the economic downturn as they continue to
search for work. With this measure, we will also continue to restore confidence
in our housing market by bringing more new buyers into the market. Tax credits
for homebuyers and benefits for job seekers will help stimulate further
economic growth, but we must continue to stay focused on our recovery. We must
ensure small businesses have access to the capital they need to grow and create
jobs to fuel our recovery for the long term.”

The job market is historically the last part of an economic recession to
recover – forcing the unemployed to bear the brunt of recessions the longest
and making it increasingly difficult to find new work. In addition to providing
a lifeline for the unemployed, jobless benefits are effective economic stimulus
because it puts money in the hands of those who need it most and who spend it
immediately – injecting activity back into the sluggish economy. In fact,
Moody’s estimates that every dollar of unemployment benefits translates to
$1.64 in economic stimulus.

Similarly, economists point to the first-time homebuyer tax credit as being
incredibly important to our recovery by stabilizing our housing market and
spurring new buyers. In fact, since the start of this year, the tax credit has
led to over 150,000 new and existing home sales, according to estimates from
the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Moody’s Chief Economist Mark
Zandi expects the credit to draw nearly 400,000 buyers into the market by the
end of the year.

The legislation passed today will extend
the tax credit another five months to give the housing market more time to
stabilize, and bring more new families and first-time buyers into the market.
To crack down on fraudulent uses of the first-time homebuyer tax credit,
Senator Gillibrand worked to insert language into the current bill that would
require more oversight from the IRS. Specifically, this language would prevent
fraud by requiring anyone seeking to claim the credit to be at least 18 years
of age and to submit their settlement statement with their tax returns. 
Additionally, it would enhance the IRS’s authority to investigate potential
cases of fraud and require the IRS to report to Congress on any prosecutorial
and investigatory actions related to the tax credit within 90 days after enactment
and quarterly thereafter. 

The bill also provides tax cuts for large and small businesses that have been
hit hardest by the recession by allowing them to deduct losses from taxes paid
in previous years.  This will allow more businesses to prevent job cuts
and free up capital for new investments as we continue to recover from the
economic downturn. 

Senator Gillibrand is advocating for additional efforts to rebuild the economy
and create good-paying jobs.  Because small businesses account for nearly
two-thirds of all private sector job creation, Senator Gillibrand is pushing
new efforts that would use approximately $40 billion in unused TARP funds for
loans to small businesses to give them the support they need to grow, create
jobs and continue fueling our recovery. 

As another step to continue creating new jobs, Senator Gillibrand is also
advocating for new proposals that would provide additional tax credits for
businesses as an incentive to create jobs, build their workforce and put more
New Yorkers back to work.