Friday, March 21, 2008

Ask Boehner: Intelligence Assets, Rebate Checks

I occasionally use this column to answer questions from 8th District constituents. You may submit questions to My office is available to help constituents and you will find contact information at the end of this column.

Q: Why did you vote to uphold the veto of the Intelligence authorization bill?

During a time of war, I believe it of the utmost importance that we do not telegraph to our enemies our counterterrorism techniques. The flawed legislation that you’ve asked about would do that, and much more – it would essentially tell terrorists how to train to beat our interrogation techniques so that we cannot obtain information that would help us win the global War on Terror. President Bush and CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden have both stated repeatedly that we do not employ the use of torture against our enemies.

Earlier this month, I voted to uphold the President’s veto of the Intelligence Authorization Bill because it is bad policy. This bill shortchanged critical human intelligence assets necessary to fortify our national security and protect our troops. Instead, it bankrolled millions of dollars of wasteful spending for lawmakers’ pet projects. This misguided legislation also required our intelligence officials to take away from their work protecting us from terrorists to asses the “national security” aspects of global warming.

Let me be clear: our intelligence resources must be dedicated to our national security, not pork and political correctness.

Q: When can my husband and I expect to receive our rebate check that we’re getting under the Economic Stimulus Congress passed?

As part of the bipartisan economic growth package, citizens filing 2007 income tax returns will receive rebate checks as early as May 2, the IRS has announced. The initial round of payments should be completed by early July. Taxpayers can choose to receive these checks by either direct deposit or in the form of a paper check, depending on your preference indicated on your tax return. These stimulus payments will be sent out in the order of the last two digits of the tax filer’s Social Security number; joint filers will receive their checks based on the first Social Security number listed on the tax return.

On the IRS website ( is a “calculator” that will help taxpayers determine if they are eligible for a stimulus rebate and how much they can expect to receive. Be sure to have your 2007 tax return handy when you use the calculator as you will be asked several questions about the information contained on your filing.

The economic growth package is comprised of two simple parts: rebate checks with an overall phase-out for those with adjusted gross incomes above $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married couples plus provisions to give small businesses incentives to expand and create new jobs. Rebate checks will be determined by the income tax paid in 2007, with a maximum of $600 for a single taxpayer and $1,200 for married couples or, $300 for an individual and $600 for a married couple, provided the individual or couple earned income of at least $3,000 in 2007. Qualifying income includes wages, Social Security benefits and payments to disabled veterans or their survivors. A children’s bonus also will be included in the rebate calculation. Anyone qualifying for the base amount also receives an additional $300 per dependent child under age 17, with no cap on the number of children.

The business tax incentives are:

Bonus Depreciation: Under the new law, a taxpayer is entitled to depreciate 50 percent of the adjusted basis of certain qualified property during the year that the property is placed in service. This is similar to the special depreciation allowance that was previously available for certain property placed in service generally before Jan. 1, 2005, often referred to as “bonus depreciation.” This temporary tax cut offers significant savings on new property with a depreciation period of 20 years or less.

Small Business Expensing: In general, a qualifying taxpayer can elect to treat the cost of certain property as an expense and deduct it in the year the property is placed in service instead of depreciating it over several years. This property is frequently referred to as section 179 property. Under the new law, a qualifying business can fully expense up to $250,000 of section 179 property purchased by the taxpayer in a tax year beginning in 2008 with an overall investment limit of $800,000.

If you are an 8th District resident and have questions about either of these issues – or other issues with the federal government – please contact my office toll-free, 1-800-583-1001.

1 comment:

Zane said...

I think spending $42 million to inform taxpayers about the tax rebate is a waste of money, and I doubt the rebate will have much positive impact on the economy. However, the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 does provide one tax incentive that will help the economy - check out this [link title="Section 179 calculator"][/link] that shows various tax savings on various equipment costs purchased by small business. Small business is the lifeblood of the economy and Section 179 will be a real boost.