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Georgia lawmakers want to stretch stimulus rebates
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A bipartisan bill being pushed by members of the Georgia House would help the $168 billion economic stimulus package recently approved by Congress last a little longer for Georgians.
Federal lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the stimulus package signed by President Bush last week, ensuring an estimated 130 million Americans will receive a one-time rebate check beginning as early as May.
The checks will go primarily to individuals making less than $75,000 and to married couples making less than $150,000 as well as people who did not pay federal income taxes last year but earned income of more than $3,000.
Individuals are eligible for a rebate up to $600, while couples could receive up to $1,200 plus $300 for each child.
And to make sure Georgians can use every penny of any rebate they receive, Georgia House lawmakers are working to pass legislation that would block the state from imposing state income tax on stimulus checks.
Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), co-sponsor of the bill, said without the measure recipients would have to pay the 6 percent state income tax on their rebate, which he believes defeats the federal government's purpose of rejuvenating the economy.
"If we're going to try to stimulate the economy," he recently told reporters, "we don't need to line the pockets of the state."
The average savings under the bill would be $72 for individuals, $144 for couples without children and a little extra for families with children.
The bill would also exclude from state taxes $1,200 of income for a single person and $2,400 for a couple. Each child would add $300 in income exclusion.
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