These are trying times for New Hampshire and our nation.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has left Granite Staters worried about the health of their families and, equally as important, anxious about their financial and employment futures.
As we all know, small businesses with tight profit margins make up a large portion of N.H.’s employers. Across the state, businesses are feeling the ramifications of both their customers’ decisions to stay home as well as the state’s emergency protocols limiting public events and gatherings. This has left many of their employees either unable to work or unsure of their future employment.
Businesses are trying to adapt and be creative to stay afloat while adhering to social distancing and new regulations. Traditional sit-down restaurants are becoming take-out venues, they are using online ordering to create curbside services and utilizing home delivery services.
Policymakers, too, must adapt and be creative in finding ways to help both employees and employers affected by the economic reality during this pandemic. With this in mind, I have proposed eight concrete measures that the Federal Government can do right now to make a difference for N.H. families and small businesses.
- Allow self-employed individuals a 90-day extension to pay their 2020 first quarterly tax payment including social security quarterly payment. Many self-employed individuals are especially vulnerable to economic slowdowns. This will allow them to keep funds in their business and allow them to take a necessary salary.
- Pass the bipartisan legislation changing the Qualified Improvement Property depreciation schedule from 39 years back to 15 years. This has zero impact on the federal budget, but would help businesses across the state by allowing them to accelerate their investment depreciation faster.
- Expand personal deductions for 2019 and 2020 for individuals from $12,200 to $15,000 and couples from $24,400 to $30,000, relieving the tax burden for all. Allowing taxpayers to keep more of their own money is especially important right now. N.H. residents want to support their local businesses and this change would provide more disposable income to do so.
- Reinstitute charitable deductions for the year 2020 and retroactively for 2019 up to $1,000 per filing adult. In times of crisis, we always come together as a community and support those that need help. This would help encourage even further giving to the charities that are doing such important work right now. Those who have already filed would file an amendment to their 2019 returns.
- Encourage credit card companies to suspend interest charges on balances for 90 days. This would allow larger principal payments and help avoid a rush of potential bankruptcies.
- Direct credit reporting bureaus to note “dings” in credit history over the next 90 days due to COVID-19 disruptions, and prohibit refusal of credit based on delinquencies during this period. Many N.H. residents are going to see negative repercussions to their credit scores as a result of events outside of their control. This would help to prevent this from following them indefinitely.
- Expand the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 for the first child /$500 per dependent for a total of not to exceed $3,000. New credit should be $3,000 for the first child/$1,000 per dependent not to exceed $5,000. Parents and families are arguably being hit hardest right now. Between childcare costs and lost employment it is more important than ever to put more money in their pockets.
- Repeal the gas tax of 18.4 cents for gas and 24.4 cents for diesel, helping those needing to travel to their jobs such as hospital personnel, first responders, manufacturing employees and the truck drivers delivering much needed supplies to our grocery stores.
While these proposals are certainly not a “silver bullet” answer to rebound our economy, they are a step in the right direction. We need to do what we can to help our struggling neighbors and our community small businesses weather this storm. In the end, I believe that we will come out stronger than ever before.
Please stay safe and watch out for those in need.