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Reality Check: $825 Billion Stimulus Package

Published On: Jan 22 2009 07:02:14 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 22 2009 08:44:13 AM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

President Barack Obama is seeking a $825 billion stimulus package to jumpstart the struggling economy. On Thursday, Gov. Jim Doyle was in Washington, D.C., trying to secure some federal stimulus money for Wisconsin.

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The entire stimulus package is massive and aims to send money to many parts of government to get the economy moving again.

WISC-TV put the stimulus package through a "Reality Check" to find out what it could mean to residents.

The second stimulus plan is called the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009."

Obama talked about a tax cut during the campaign, and it's included in the stimulus package. Individuals could expect a cut of $500 and families up to a $1,000 cut in payroll taxes. It would come in the form of a cut to Social Security taxes taken out of your paycheck. The total price tag on the tax cut is about $275 billion.

The other $550 billion is for spending projects, with $90 billion going toward infrastructure upgrades across the country and about $102 billion for various unemployment assistance programs.

States would get some of the money they need to combat deficits. About $87 billion would go toward Medicaid costs and $79 billion would be for local school districts and public colleges and universities.

But like many congressional bills, there is spending that might not fit the "stimulus" mold. The Census program would get $1 billion and an addition $605 million would be for digital TV converter box coupons.

How much could Wisconsin get from the federal stimulus?

The state's budget director said Wisconsin could get up to $3 billion, with $2.5 billion going to educational and medical assistance programs and nearly $600,000 to transportation and infrastructure projects. Those projects could include a rail line from Kenosha to Milwaukee or an expansion of Interstate 94.

Although $825 billion might seem like a lot of money, the price tag for the entire plan is only expected to grow. The summary of the bill said the bill's passage will only increase the nation's budget deficit, but also said that without it the deficits could be "devastating" and the country could face the risk of "economic chaos."

If you have an idea for a Reality Check, send it to realitycheck@channel3000.com.

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