The U.S. Department of Labor announced earlier today that the national employment rate reached 10.2% in October, the highest level in over 26 years. Florida has certainly been affected by the downturn of the economy. Our State’s economy is stabilized largely by tourism, agriculture, and construction, and large spikes in unemployment – as well as a downturn in our nation’s housing market – have sent ripples that have virtually affected all segments of our economy, in every corner of our State. While Florida’s October unemployment rates will not be released until later this month, our current rate is already well above the national rate at 11%, and some counties are much higher. These rates, which have gradually increased, are of great concern and I am focused on supporting policies that will help to reduce unemployment and stimulate the economy.
I am pleased to share that yesterday the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3548, the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009, as amended by the Senate, with my support. The President is expected to sign the legislation as early as today.
This important legislation extends the $8,000 first-time homebuyers tax credit for an additional five months, from November 30, 2009, to April 30, 2010. In addition, the bill provides a $6,500 tax credit for homebuyers that are not first time buyers, but have owned a primary residence at least five consecutive years in the last eight years.
The legislation caps the credit eligibility on homes that cost $800,000 or more and raises the current income limit from $75,000 to $125,000 for individuals, and $150,000 to $225,000 in the case of a joint return. In addition, H.R. 3548 waives provisions to recapture the credit for military, intelligence, and Foreign Service personnel who are on qualified official duty and extends the tax credit for an additional year for those on qualified extended duty overseas for 90 days or more since 2008.
Other important provisions of the legislation include:
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: extending unemployment benefits for 14 weeks in all 50 states, with an additional six weeks in 27 states with unemployment higher than 8.5% (this would include Florida).
NET OPERATING LOSSES: extending the temporary five-year carryback of NOLs (net operating losses) created under the stimulus to provide an additional benefit for all struggling businesses, regardless of size. Ordinarily these companies can carry back these losses for only two years to qualify for a tax refund. The provision makes this process extend the carry-back to five years for either 2008 or 2009. The tax break will now apply to losses in either 2008 or 2009, and the income cap will come off.
As always, if you are experiencing difficulties with a federal agency, are interested in legislation that is pending before Congress or merely wish to express your opinions, please visit my website at www.adamputnam.house.gov. If you would like additional updates on this and other issues please signup for my e-newsletter at http://adamputnam.house.gov/signup.shtml.
Member of Congress