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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the National Retail Federation were among the trade groups that praised the White House and Congress yesterday for passing the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008. Even Wal-Mart issued a supportive statement about the plan, which observers hope will help boost the economy during the second half of the year.
"This plan puts more than $100 billion into the hands of consumers who need it the most to help pay for life's necessities," said FMI president and c.e.o. Tim Hammonds in a statement. "Businesses can use the other $45 billion to employ more people and invest in growth and technology."
Hammonds continued, "This stimulus package will benefit food retailers, especially smaller ones, who are expanding job-rich prepared foods departments, health and wellness programs, and other consumer services to compete more effectively. They can also use the funds from increased deductions and depreciation to upgrade computer systems, particularly software -- essential investments for an industry undergoing fast-paced technological change."
The stimulus plan will provide rebates as high as $600 for individuals and $1,200 for married couples. For businesses, it doubles the Section 179 deduction for investments to $250,000 in 2008. The plan also provides businesses a 50 percent increase in first-year depreciation for investments in property, including computer software.
Separately, Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. issued the following statement: "We applaud the President and Congress for recognizing the economic struggles of everyday Americans and moving quickly to provide much needed tax relief. As families wrestle with their mortgages and rising prices -- from a tank of gas to the winter utility bill coming due -- Wal-Mart sees first hand how shoppers are seeking ways to save money so they can live better."
The National Retail Federation also welcomed the signing of economic stimulus legislation by President Bush, and praised Congress and the Administration for moving quickly on the issue.
"It was less than a month ago that President Bush urged congressional leaders to set aside partisan differences and work together to help the U.S. economy and American families," NRF s.v.p. for government relations Steve Pfister said in a statement. "To see a bill signed into law this soon is almost unprecedented. This fast action shows the urgency of this issue and the commitment the White House and the leaders of both parties in the House and Senate were willing to make to give our economy the shot in the arm it so badly needs."