President-elect Barack Obama is expected to begin working on passing an economic stimulus package, possibly even before he takes office.
Congress will begin a lame-duck session later this month in which it is expected to consider a short-term stimulus package to boost the economy. "We have a stimulus package on the table that I hope Republicans in the Senate will allow to be taken up in a lame-duck session," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Obama has proposed a stimulus package estimated to cost between $175 billion and $190 billion. Among the provisions is a windfall profits tax on oil company income, which would be used to provide families with a $1,000 emergency energy rebate.
Businesses would also receive a $3,000 refundable tax credit for each new full-time employee they hire in the U.S. in the next two years. Small businesses would be able to write off up to $250,000 for new equipment and property they buy up to the end of next year. The stimulus package passed earlier this year provided the write-off only for purchases through the end of 2008.
Obama also wants to increase spending on infrastructure projects, extend unemployment benefits and boost home heating aid. He has also proposed allowing holders of tax-deferred retirement accounts to temporarily make penalty-free withdrawals of 15 percent up to $10,000, according to Reuters.
Longer term, Obama also has made a number of proposals that will likely have to wait until he takes office in January and the next congressional term begins. Those include proposals to provide a "Making Work Pay" tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family, and the elimination of income taxes for all seniors who make less than $50,000 annually.
He has pledged to cut taxes for all families and workers who earn less than $200,000 per year, but to raise taxes for those who make more than $250,000 by letting the Bush tax cuts expire. He also has called for simplifying tax preparation so that the Internal Revenue Service would use the information it gets from banks and employers to give taxpayers the option of receiving pre-filled tax forms to verify, sign and return.
At least one financial trade group weighed in with a message of congratulations for Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. "We look forward to working with our nation's new leadership and representatives to develop sound finance and taxation policies for American companies," said Financial Executives International.
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