Washington, D.C. –Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today joined a majority in the House of Representatives to support critical legislation that will create and save 41,000 Connecticut jobs.  Congress approved the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by a vote of 246-198-1. President Obama’s job creation package passed by Congress will rebuild America, making us more globally competitive and energy independent, and transform our economy for long-term growth. Most importantly, the Recovery Act will immediately give 95 percent of American workers a tax cut and quickly provide much needed investment in the economy.

 “This jobs and recovery plan will give a much-needed tax cut to Connecticut families and helps invest in badly needed infrastructure projects that will help position our state for long-term prosperity,” said Congressman Himes “As we work to address the mortgage foreclosure crisis and get credit flowing in our financial system, this plan will begin to bring jobs, relief, and hope for Connecticut workers and families,”
The bill includes $282 billion in tax cuts over two years. The legislation also has unprecedented accountability and transparency measures to help ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and effectively—including no earmarked projects and a new recovery.gov website allowing Americans to track the investments.
This jobs and economic recovery plan helps Connecticut specifically in the following ways:

• The creation of approximately 41,000 jobs in Connecticut: With 7.1% unemployment, Connecticut needs an infusion of funds to create jobs in the fields of health care, construction, energy, and more.

• A tax cut for 1.35 million Connecticut residents: The Make Work Pay tax cut is a refundable tax credit of up to $400 per worker ($800 per couple filing jointly), phasing out at $150,000 for couples filing jointly and $75,000 for single filers that will be distributed by reducing tax withholding from workers’ paychecks, putting more money in the pocket each pay period.

• Approximately $1.3 billion in Medicaid funds for Connecticut: The funding is aimed to allow states the ability to maintain services and to help those who will newly qualify in this economic downturn.

• $784 million for Connecticut schools: This funding will be used for Title I, IDEA, and school renovation projects.  For more information,http://edlabor.house.gov/blog/2009/01/school-districts-will-benefit.shtml.

• A $2,500 partially refundable tax credit for college, for which 30,000 families in Connecticut will be eligible: For the first time, textbook expenses will count in this credit.  And Pell Grants will be expanded by $500.

• $300 million for highway projects, and $137 million for transit in Connecticut: 50% of highway funds must be obligated by the state within 120 days, and they can be used for up to 100% of a project’s cost.  50% of transit funds must be obligated by the state within 180 days, and they can be used for up to 100% of a project’s cost.

• An estimated $65.8 million for Connecticut for weatherization upgrades to make homes more energy efficient: Families are now eligible up to 200% of the federal poverty line for a maximum of $6,5000 per dwelling.

• An additional $100 a month in unemployment insurance benefits for Connecticut workers who have lost their jobs in this recession.

• $545.8 million in state fiscal stabilization funding, of which 81.8 percent will be used boost state support to local school systems and 18.2 percent will be used to support other critical needs such as public safety and job creation through school modernization.  This funding will help address state and municipal budget shortfalls and prevent reductions in education services and jobs.

“It will take time to turn this economy around, but I am confident that the Recovery Act will make our economy stronger and more resilient,” said Rep. Himes. “Although not perfect, this is the right bill at the right time to help get our economy back on track.”