Tax Brackets - Black Enterprise

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Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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Fears of a recession coupled with an unsteady stock market led President George W. Bush in January to introduce an economic stimulus package aimed at boosting public spending that includes nearly $150 billion in tax rebate checks for low-to moderate-income earners and tax breaks to struggling businesses. The $168 billion stimulus plan was approved by Congress on Feb. 7. According to the Treasury Department, rebate checks are expected to begin distribution in early May.

Much media attention has been placed on the plan’s objective to distribute rebate checks ranging from $300 to $600 for more than 100 million individuals who did not pay federal income tax but who earned more than $3,000 last year, $600 to individuals who paid income tax, and $1,200 to couples filing jointly (including an additional $300 for each child).

Individuals who earn more than $75,000 and couples making more than $150,000 will receive less. The package includes aid for more than 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled veterans. Additional provisions of the legislation allow businesses to purchase new equipment this year and deduct an additional 50% of the cost in 2008.

However, it is the benefits left off of the package that economist Algernon Austin believes might actually hurt most low- and average-income African Americans. Austin, the director of the race, ethnicity, and economy program at the Economic Policy Institute, notes that the plan excludes aid to state governments, funding for infrastructure projects, extending unemployment insurance, and increasing food stamp benefits and Medicaid payments to states. “These types of policies will disproportionately benefit black Americans because blacks are disproportionately poor and low-income,” Austin says. “This is a very weak stimulus package.”

Austin says that without aid from the federal government, state economies–some of which are already faltering–will begin to cut back social service programs such as Medicare and SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) at a time when a recession is going to increase the demand for these programs. On the other hand, repairing bridges and schools and various other infrastructure projects would directly produce jobs.

R. Donahue Peebles, chairman and CEO of the Peebles Corp. (No. 13 on the be industrial/service 100 list with $403 million in sales), a real estate and hotel conglomerate, agrees that economic growth depends on customer spending.

“It is important that people who have jobs start spending, by traveling, staying at hotels, and consuming products so that people in the service industry can have work,” he advises. Peebles also believes that accelerated depreciation, one of the bonuses the plan extends to business owners, will encourage businesses to invest in new equipment.

Consumers interested in calculating their stimulus rebate amount can use the online Economic Stimulus Rebate Calculator at

While the government and business owners like Peebles hope the public will purchase big-ticket items with the anticipated rebates, Gil Michel, president of says the targeted consumers will likely catch up on bills. “Many times, when the funds are in anticipation, they are already accounted for,” he says. “These are people with real economic needs, so

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.