WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Wednesday signed into law an economic stimulus package that is aimed at staving off a recession by offering tax rebates and incentives to businesses to invest.
Here are some details of the plan:
* The total package is worth about $168 billion over two years, roughly 1 percent of U.S. economic output, and will add directly to the U.S. federal deficit.
* Individuals would get rebates of up to $600 and married couples could get up to $1,200, plus $300 per child, no limit. Individuals with annual incomes above $75,000 in adjusted gross income (AGI) or married couples making $150,000 in AGI would get less depending how high their incomes are above those thresholds.
* The plan also includes a provision that Democrats had sought that would allow some low-income workers, retirees on Social Security and disabled veterans who do not earn enough money to owe income taxes to receive a check. Those who made at least $3,000 last year and paid no income taxes would be eligible for a check of up to $300 for individuals and $600 for couples.
* As an incentive to encourage business investment, companies would be able to immediately deduct 50 percent of the costs of purchases of new equipment.
* The House package includes raising the limits on “conforming mortgages” financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to $729,750 from the current cap of $417,000 through December 31. It would also indefinitely raise the limit on Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgages to that same level from $362,790. Such a move is expected to lower the interest rates on those high-cost loans.
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