Dems offer smaller jobs bill in bid for support

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D- Nev., speaks to the media following a meeting with the Senate …
Stung by criticism that a bipartisan jobs bill emerging in the Senate wouldn’t create many jobs, Senate Democrats on Thursday proposed a new, stripped-down version they hope will still get support from both Republicans and Democrats.

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Republicans, however, accused Democrats of reneging on their deal, putting in jeopardy a short-lived attempt at bipartisan lawmaking.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s latest bill focuses on several popular provisions aimed at boosting job creation, including a new tax break negotiated with Republicans for companies that hire unemployed workers and for small businesses that purchase new equipment. It also would renew highway programs and help states and local governments finance large infrastructure projects. [Read the full article]

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Thursday unveiled a budget proposal that included extending the tax to services while eliminating a business tax surcharge over the next two years.

The proposals were included in a $47.1 billion budget plan that calls for no cuts in spending to public education, local governments or universities and community colleges. It would trim the state work force and require state workers and teachers to pay more toward their pension and health care costs when it takes effect Oct. 1.

The business tax cuts and changes in personnel costs got a warm reception from many business groups and Republicans. But the Democratic governor will face a tough task getting the sales tax extended to services, even with lowering the tax rate. [Read the full article]

Hiring tax credits — Exempts businesses hiring unemployed workers in 2010 from the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax for those hires and provides an additional $1,000 tax credit for workers retained for a full year. Cost: $13 billion.

Highway programs — Reauthorizes the highway trust fund to use gasoline taxes to help state and local governments pay for highway and transit projects. Deposits an additional $20 billion into the trust fund.

Equipment write-offs — Permits businesses to write off equipment purchases as a business expense.

Build America Bonds — Expands the Build America Bonds program, subsidizing interest costs for bonds issued by states and local governments for large infrastructure projects. Cost: $2 billion.

Tax extenders — Extending through 2010 a variety of popular tax breaks that expired at the end of 2009, including an income tax deduction for sales and property taxes and a business tax credit for research and development. Cost: $31 billion. [Read the full article]

There are two homebuyer federal income tax credits: the first-time homebuyer tax credit of up to $8,000, and the move-up homebuyer tax credit of up to $6,500. Both come with deadlines.

To collect either tax credit, buyers have to have homes under contract by April 30. That means that both buyer and seller must have signed the purchase contract by that date. After that, there’s another deadline: The transaction has to close by June 30.

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If you want to collect the tax credit, don’t wait until the last half of April to begin looking for a house. Yes, it’s possible that you could do it all in a couple of weeks: find a house that you like, negotiate a price and secure mortgage financing. Possible, but not probable.

“Don’t wait till the last minute, and be prepared to stay on top of things from the very outset,” says Neil Garfinkel, a lawyer with the law firm of Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson LLP, on New York’s Long Island. [Read the full article]

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