Key elements of the roughly $300-billion (U.S.) jobs package that President Barack Obama will unveil Thursday in a speech before a joint session of Congress.
TAX CUTS. A yearlong extension of a payroll tax cut for all workers. Congress in December cut the payroll tax, which raises money for Social Security, from 6.2 per cent for every worker to 4.2 per cent for all of 2011. The tax applies to earnings up to $106,800. The president is proposing the tax cut remain in place for 2012. The estimated cost is about $115-billion.
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. If approved by Congress, the proposal would continue assistance to millions of people who are receiving extended benefits under emergency unemployment insurance set up during the recession. That program expired in November but Congress renewed it for 2011. If not renewed again, it would expire at the end of this year. Prolonging the program through 2012 is expected to cost about $50-billion to $55-billion. Mr. Obama also has spoken positively about a Georgia program that lets people receiving unemployment benefits obtain job training at a company at no cost to the employer.
EMPLOYER TAX CREDITS. A reduction in employers' share of the payroll tax for each new worker they hire. The plan would be an expanded version of a measure passed by Congress in March 2010. A version of the program considered by the White House cost about $33 billion.
EQUIPMENT DEDUCTION. Wary of imposing a burden on business, Mr. Obama wants to continue for one year a tax break for businesses allowing them to deduct the full value of new equipment. Previously, companies could only deduct 50 per cent of the value. The president and Congress in December negotiated that provision into law for 2011, but it is set to expire at the end of this year.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT AID. The ailing economy has forced states and local governments to lay off workers. Money that states and municipalities received in the 2009 stimulus package has been running out. Obama is expected to propose a new round of assistance, particularly to guard against layoffs of emergency personnel and teachers.
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