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Continued: Obama: People should see tax cut help by April 1

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  • Last update: February 22, 2009 - 12:02 AM

The latest: President Obama said Saturday that most Americans will start seeing the benefits of the new tax cuts by April 1. "Never before in our history has a tax cut taken effect faster or gone to so many hardworking Americans," Obama said in his weekly address. In tandem, the Treasury Department began directing employers to reduce the amount of taxes withheld from people's paychecks as soon as possible.

His address: Obama said he was grateful to Congress, governors, mayors and all the people who supported the $787 billion economic stimulus measure, which including both tax cuts and new spending. Still, he added: "It is only a first step on the road to economic recovery. And we cannot fail to complete the journey." He said the country also must stem foreclosures, repair the banking system and revamp financial regulations.

What to expect: The tax credit -- up to $400 for individuals and up to $800 for married couples -- will be doled out through the rest of the year through a payroll tax cut reflected in paychecks. Most workers should see about a $13 per week increase in their take-home pay. But the credit is phased out for higher-income taxpayers. People who do not earn enough money to owe income taxes can file for their share.

New details: The IRS released new withholding tables on its website (www.irs.gov) to help guide employers in reflecting the new credit. It says more instructions about tax provisions in the law will be available soon and will be mailed to more than 9 million employers next month.

Track the changes: For more information about the White House's recovery plan, go to www. recovery.gov.

Governors gathering: The nation's governors, gathered Saturday in Washington for a three-day winter meeting, said that the economic stimulus package might help them avert draconian budget cuts, but that they did not expect to see signs of an economic recovery until late this year or early 2010.

A new tune: For the most part, the governors downplayed an apparent split in Republican ranks over the stimulus plan. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has said he would reject a portion of the money, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour may do so as well. But Florida GOP Gov. Charlie Crist said the issue wasn't rooted in politics. "It's different people, different CEOs -- governors -- who have a different perspective on how it would impact their states," Crist said in an interview. "I know it has a positive impact on Florida."

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