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Economic Growth and Job Creation

"Today we are taking essential action to strengthen the American economy.... We are helping workers who need more take-home pay. We're helping seniors who rely on dividends. We're helping small business owners looking to grow and to create more new jobs. We're helping families with children who will receive immediate relief. By ensuring that Americans have more to spend, to save, and to invest, this [tax relief] legislation is adding fuel to an economic recovery. We have taken aggressive action to strengthen the foundation of our economy so that every American who wants to work will be able to find a job."

-President George W. Bush, May 28, 2003

The Accomplishments

A Growing Economy

  • Since last summer, the American economy has grown at the fastest rate of any major industrialized nation.
  • America's economy has been growing at rates as fast as any in nearly 20 years.
  • Nearly 1.9 million jobs have been created since August 2003. The unemployment rate today is below the average unemployment rate of the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s.
  • From 2000 to 2003, productivity grew at the fastest three-year rate in more than a half-century, raising the standard of living for all Americans.
  • The stock market regained more than $4 trillion in equity since its low in mid-2002. In 2003 the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 25 percent and the NASDAQ rose 50 percent.
  • Manufacturing activity expanded in September for the 16th consecutive month.
  • Real after-tax incomes are up 11 percent since December 2000.
  • Interest rates reached their lowest levels in decades during the Bush Administration.
  • Homeownership reached an all-time high and mortgage rates reached their lowest level in decades.
  • During the Bush Administration, we have experienced one of the lowest core inflation rates (averaging two percent per year) in the past 40 years.

Historic Tax Relief

  • President Bush, working closely with Congress, provided the largest tax relief in a generation.
  • The President secured enactment of four major tax relief bills, providing tax relief to every taxpayer who pays income tax while completely eliminating the income tax burden for nearly five million families.
  • On October 4, 2004, President Bush signed into law his fourth tax relief bill, H.R. 1308, the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004, which extends key parts of his tax relief plan set to expire next year. Due to the President’s actions, a family of four with an income of $40,000 will save more than $900 on their taxes next year. Overall, 94 million Americans will have a lower tax bill next year, including 70 million women and 38 million families with children. This legislation:
    • Extends the full marriage penalty relief to couples who are unfairly taxed just because they are married;
    • Lessens the tax burden of lower-income Americans by ensuring the full benefits of the 10% percent tax bracket;
    • Helps working moms and dads by ensuring that the full $1,000 per child tax credit is available through 2010;
    • Supports military men and women living in combat zones by providing nearly $200 million of assistance in the form of higher child credit refunds and earned income tax credits;
    • Protects middle-class taxpayers from the Alternative Minimum Tax by exempting from it the first $58,000 of a married couple’s income. Without this AMT relief, taxpayers would be saddled with an extra $23 billion AMT levy through 2005; and
    • Simplifies the tax code for families who qualify for the child tax credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the dependent care credit, the dependent exemption for children, and those who file as the head-of-household.
  • If Congress had not acted when it did, failure to extend these tax cuts permanently would have raised taxes on American taxpayers in future years:
    • In 2005, the $1,000 child credit would have fallen to $700;
    • A family of four earning $40,000 would have seen their tax burden increase by $913 next year; and
    • In 2005, 94 million taxpayers would have faced, on average, a tax increase of $538.

Providing Job Training

  • President Bush has proposed providing more than a half-billion dollars in funding for new education and job training initiatives. The plan includes $250 million to fund partnerships between community colleges and employers to help Americans prepare for the higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs of the new century, Community College Access Grants Fund at $125 million to improve the services that community colleges provide, and $33 million for expanded Pell Grants for low-income students.
  • The Bush Administration proposed $23 billion for job training and employment assistance in 2005.
  • The President proposed a $50 million Personal Reemployment Accounts pilot program, allowing unemployed workers who have the hardest time finding jobs to choose the services they need to return to work, including assistance with training, child care, and transportation costs.
  • President Bush has supported extension of Federal unemployment benefits three times, providing more than $23 billion to help almost eight million American workers.
  • President Bush proposed to reform major Federal job training programs to double the number of people trained, and to ensure more people receive flexible Innovation Training Accounts which allow workers to make choices about the skills they need.

Helping America's Small Businesses

  • President Bush's historic tax relief reduced marginal income tax rates across-the-board, benefiting the more than 90 percent of small businesses that pay taxes at individual income tax rates.
  • President Bush raised from $25,000 to $100,000 the amount that small businesses can expense for new capital investments, reducing the cost of purchasing new machinery, computers, trucks, and other qualified investments.
  • The number of women-owned businesses has continued to grow at twice the rate of all United States businesses. Women are now the owners of 10.6 million businesses in the country, which generate $3.6 trillion in sales, and between 1997 and 2002, employment at majority-women-owned private companies increased by 30 percent.
  • The Bush Administration proposed and supports Association Health Plans (AHPs) to help employees of small businesses afford health coverage.
  • The regulatory burden on small businesses has been reduced. Small business owners have also been given a bigger voice on ways to improve regulations.
  • The Administration has implemented new regulations that help small businesses compete for Federal procurement dollars and streamlined the appeals process

Promoting Minority Small Businesses

  • Business loans to minorities increased by 40 percent in 2003.
  • President Bush proposed a 21 percent increase for the Minority Business Development Agency, the largest increase in more than a decade.

Supporting Technological Innovation

  • President Bush has proposed the largest Federal research and development budget in history.
  • President Bush proposed making permanent the research and experimentation tax credit to promote private sector investment in new technologies and manufacturing techniques.
  • The President created a new math and science partnership program to improve teacher training and student learning. The President's 2005 budget meets his commitment to fully fund his five-year, $1 billion goal.
  • The Bush Administration set a national goal of universal, affordable access to broadband technology by the year 2007 - and it has opposed all efforts to tax access to broadband.

Restraining Federal Spending and Improving Government Efficiency

  • President Bush brought the annual rate of growth in non-security discretionary spending down from 15 percent in the last budget enacted during the Clinton Administration to a proposed 0.5 percent for next year.
  • The President's budget will put the country on a path toward cutting the deficit in half from its peak over the next five years. And better progress is being made than anticipated just six months ago. Rising revenues, spurred by a growing economy, are decreasing the deficit faster than anticipated.
  • The Bush Administration launched the President's Management Agenda (PMA) to make the Federal government more results-oriented and accountable. For the first time, a majority of agencies evaluate their employees based on how well they are performing relative to clear expectations. Departments and agencies have assessed the performance of more than 600 programs, representing approximately $1.4 trillion in Federal spending, And by working to eliminate more than $35 billion in improper payments and producing more timely and accurate financial information, more Federal agencies than ever are being held accountable for spending the taxpayers' money wisely.
  • The Bush Administration has achieved the biggest overhaul of the Federal civil service system in a quarter-century and opened up hundreds of thousands of Federal jobs to competition. The result is that government provides better results at lower costs to taxpayers.

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