Henry Cuellar

Jobs and Economy

Jobs and Economy

Getting Americans Back to Work, Providing Relief at Home

As we work to repair and restore the nation's economy, it is important to stabilize American jobs to stem the tide of rising unemployment. Thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Congress has helped fill budget shortfalls in Texas in vitally important areas such as education and transportation. This has helped save or create thousands of jobs for hard-working Texans.

In 2010, the House passed a Jobs Bill to help businesses hire and retain new workers who were previously unemployed. By giving tax credits and deductions to American businesses and small businesses, we help keep their doors open while putting Americans back to work. Tax cuts are vitally important to small businesses in hard economic times.

Real Investments, Tax Cuts for Working Families

Tax Cuts from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009:

  • Tax Cuts for Country: Delivered tax cuts to 95% of all hard-working Americans worth $99 billion
  • Tax Cuts for Texas: $4.2 billion worth of tax cuts to hard-working Texans
  • Tax Cuts for 28th: Over 274,000 families benefited from tax cuts
  • Seniors & Veterans: Over 3.5 million seniors and veterans received a one-time stimulus payment totaling $250

More Tax Credits:

  • Child Tax Credit: Thanks to the Recovery Act more families are eligible for the Child Tax Credit which can reduce your federal income tax by up to $1,000 for each child under the age of 17
  • Earned Income Tax Credit: Increased the EITC credit to a maximum of $5,657 to help qualifying working families who earn modest incomes
  • College Expense Tax Credit: More families now qualify for the American Opportunity Credit of up to $2,500 to help families pay for college expenses, this is a $700 increase from the previous Hope Credit

Local Investments to Stabilize Jobs:
  • ARRA provided over $634 million in federal funding in the 28th District to local infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, energy and education
  • $2 billion to Texas education for teach pay raises, new hiring, classroom materials and general education funding to local schools
  • Saved or created 4,000 Texas teaching and education jobs in 2009
  • Unemployment Assistance: Congress Provided 385,000 Texans extended emergency unemployment benefits (According to Texas Workforce Commission)

Local Investments to Stabilize Homes:
  • Homebuyer Tax Credits: ARRA provided first-time homebuyer tax credits up to $8,000, to learn more go to www.irs.gov/individuals
  • Military Assistance: Congress provided special housing assistance to military and their families who are relocated for military assignments
  • Foreclosure Assistance: Provided special mortgage refinancing and loan modifications for over 940,000 low and middle income Americans, to learn more go to www.makinghomeaffordable.gov

Jobs Bill, Tax Cuts to Hire Americans:

  • Congress passed a jobs package worth $13 billion in tax cuts to help businesses hire and retain new workers
  • Creates economic incentives for businesses to hire unemployed workers
  • Provides businesses with $1,000 income tax credit for every new employee hired and retained over 52 weeks

Jobs Bill, Help for Small Businesses:

  • Bill extends tax deductions up to $250,00 for small business expenditures in 2010 to help keep their doors open
  • Combined tax cuts to help create 300,000 new jobs

Transportation Funds for Texas:

  • Jobs Package to provide Texas $4.9 billion in highway transportation funding
  • Texas DOT received $2.2 billion for Texas roadways, bridges, airports and public transit thanks to the Recovery Act supporting 6,000 new transportation jobs in Texas (as of 2010)

Empowerment Zones

In Texas, our rural communities face a unique set of challenges. That's why I strongly support and sponsored several parts of important legislation extend tax credits for Texas’ low-income rural and urban community “Empowerment Zones.” These areas can apply to receive favorable tax credits to boost local job growth and stimulate local economies, jobs and development.

Parts of the Rio Grande Valley and the City of Cotulla, Texas are considered “Empowerment Zones” and currently Cotulla receives these tax breaks within the 28th Congressional District.

Tax breaks to underserved communities give them the leg up they need to spawn growth in their communities. Saving tax dollars means more money can be invested in the community to attract development and spawn economic growth within their cities.

The extensions would also serve as a boon to the sluggish real estate and retail development markets, providing property tax credits for homeowners and $5 billion worth of incentives to encourage improvements to retail stores, constructions of restaurants and improvements to local development.

Learn more about Empowerment Zones here: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/ezec/About/taxincentives2003.pdf

Common Sense Tax Credits
In 2009, I introduced H.R. 4201, a bill that extends charitable donations of books to public book inventories.  We should continue to encourage and provide tax incentives to Americans who aim to improve education opportunities for our nation’s children.

I am also a cosponsor of H.R. 3758, the Teacher Tax Relief Act, which would permanently increase the maximum deduction teachers are allowed to claim for the purchase of classroom supplies from $250 to $500.

Our teachers spend hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets every year on materials they and their students need in order to facilitate the learning process. In fact, according to the National School Supply and Equipment Association, during the 2005-2006 school year, teachers spent an average of $826 for supplies and $926 for instructional materials-for a total of $1,752.

With state education budgets being slashed around the country, teachers will again be called upon to purchase the supplies needed to help educate our children, and H.R. 3758 will lift some of this financial burden off their backs.