Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Foreign Citizens

Contact: Charlie Keller 202-225-1002

Opposes Provisions that Give American Taxpayer Funds to Foreign Citizens and Keep Seniors Reliant on Social Security from Receiving Help

Washington, D.C., Jan 29 -

U.S. Representative Ginny Brown-Waite (FL-05) today reluctantly supported House passage of H.R. 5140, the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008.

“While almost every Member of this body supports an economic stimulus package, I really must question the legislation before us today. Missing from the bill is any attempt to help those senior citizens who rely solely on Social Security for their income; a group that includes thousands of my constituents. Many of my retired constituents face rising property taxes, astronomical homeowner’s insurance rates and cannot afford to keep their home without help from the federal government. While House passage today moves the legislation forward, I sincerely hope that the Senate will include measures to help our senior citizens with an economic stimulus of their own.

“Second, the bill sends hundreds of millions of dollars to people who do not pay federal income taxes, including residents of Puerto Rico and territories like Guam. I do not believe American taxpayer funds should be sent to foreign citizens who do not pay taxes. Americans want an economic stimulus for Dunnellon, Brooksville and Clermont, not for San Juan or Hagatna. As the legislation moves forward, it must be changed to ensure that only federal taxpaying American citizens receive rebate checks.

“This bill is also flawed for what it does not address; the failure of Democrats to pass a state sales tax exemption for Florida taxpayers during 2007. One easy way to put thousands of dollars back into taxpayers’ pockets would be to reinstitute the state sales tax exemption for states like Florida, Texas and Tennessee, states whose citizens are disadvantaged by the federal tax code since they do not pay state income taxes. Fairness dictates that the federal tax code should treat American citizens equally, and passing the state sales tax exemption will make Florida whole and put millions of dollars back into our economy. I am currently drafting a Florida delegation letter to Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel outlining the need for a renewal of the exemption and that such a renewal be added to the very next tax package that comes before the House.

“Our economic stimulus package should go to those struggling to keep their homes, whether it is the result of losing their job, or as it is in my district, having to pay the 500-700% increase in their homeowner’s insurance rates. Tax rebate checks should go to American taxpaying citizens, not foreign citizens and nationals who don’t pay into the federal treasury. As this bill goes forward, we must address the need for state sales tax deduction renewal and targeted relief for senior citizens who make too much to qualify for rebate checks under the current legislation. I call on the Senate to improve the stimulus package as I have outlined above, and look forward to it coming back to the House for final passage after my concerns have been addressed.”

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