Stimulus checks on their way…almost
GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado More than 5.8 million economic stimulus checks have been directly deposited and millions more will be delivered by mail between May 16 and July 11. Its hard to predict how the checks will affect the economy nationally or locally, said Mesa State economics professor Morgan Bridge. Bridge said the rest of the country is in a downturn, not a recession, because a recession requires negative gross domestic product two quarters in a row, and last quarters GDP was 0.6. But the local economy is plugging along better than many other parts of the country, so the checks may not make as big a difference here as they will elsewhere, Bridge said. Instead of using ours to pay down additional debt, we might be more likely to spend them, Bridge said of the checks. The checks offered to people with valid social security numbers, a household income of at least $3,000 and those who filed 2007 tax returns will offer $300-$600 for single people and $600-$1,200 for married couples and $300 per child for parents of kids under age 17. Households earning more than $150,000 will get 5 percent of the amount they make over $150,000 chopped off their rebate amount. To calculate the amount youll receive, visit the Internal Revenue Service Web site at http://www.irs.gov/app/espc. A Reuters and University of Michigan survey found 70 percent of Americans who will receive stimulus checks from the federal government plan to save the money. Gas stations, retailers, car dealers and tourist attractions are prepping to collect the rest. Pawn and loan broker Brian Langfitt, who owns Cash Company, said he doesnt expect the stimulus checks to change his business for very long. I see it every year with tax rebates. People think its a free gift from the government. Most people I think will blow through it very quick, Langfitt said. At clothing store The Muse in Fruita, co-owner James Williams said he hasnt thought much about the rebate checks, but might have a one-day sale sometime this week in celebration. Sal Iadiciccio, marketing director at Grand Junction Subaru, said the number of people coming in to kick the tires at his dealership has doubled or tripled in the last three and a half weeks. The dealership is offering zero percent APR financing and $1,000 rebates and plans to offer another deal in a couple weeks, when paper stimulus checks start getting mailed out. Even though the economys bad, we want people to know its a good time to buy a car, Iadiciccio said. Rising gas prices might not only scare off car buyers, but also tourists, said Jennifer Grossheim-Harris of the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau. She said the bureau is amping up tourism advertising for the area at the same time stimulus checks are going out, but only as a coincidence. May and June are prime times for attracting tourists, she said. Grand Junction lodging tax revenue is high, according to Grossheim-Harris, but shes not sure what gas prices will do to tourism this summer, rebate checks or not. Itll be very interesting, she said. Reach Emily Anderson at email@example.com.
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The Forest Service plans to replace the Carbondale Aspen-Sopris ranger district station with a newer, larger facility.