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WJBD - Local News - Congressman John Shimkus Explains 'Yes' Vote For Package to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

Congressman John Shimkus Explains 'Yes' Vote For Package to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

Congressman John Shimkus voted in favor of the legislation in the house late New Year's Day that will avoid the fiscal cliff.


In a news release, Shimkus says his vote extends most of the tax rates that he first voted for under President George W. Bush. The package now on the President's desk that the President says he will sign will also extend the farm bill.

Shimkus says the package will make the Bush tax cuts permanent for those under the income levels set in the agreement. He feels maintaining the current tax rates is important for both families and the economy.“A debate is still to come regarding more spending cuts, particularly since this agreement does not raise the debt ceiling as the President had initially wanted,” Shimkus stated. “I still believe we can have entitlement reform in the months to come.”

Shimkus says the tax items in the package include:

+ permanent extension of current tax rates for those up to $400,000 income for singles or $450,000 income for couples;

+ permanent capital gain and dividend tax rates at 15 percent up to the same income levels and 20 percent above $400,000 and $450,000;

+ permanent estate tax exemption of $5 million indexed for inflation; + permanent indexing of the Alternative Minimum Tax for inflation (ending an annual fix to avoid millions of taxpayers from paying the AMT);

+ retains the $1,000 child tax credit;

+ retains marriage penalty relief.

Shimkus says the typical family of four was set to see a tax hike of $2,200.  He feels maintaining the current tax rates for nearly every American is vital to the economy and that both families and businesses will benefit.  Shimkus notes an additional benefit is that the farm bill is extended, which stops an immediate increase in milk prices and provides some certainty for farmers in the upcoming planing season. 

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