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Champagne wishes, caviar dreams –– almost

Locals make plans for cash in anticipation of rebates
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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With the promise of a tax-rebate check popping up in the mail as soon as May, Auburn's Lucy Scoud has already earmarked incoming funds. Scoud's family of four should find $1,800 in their envelope from the Internal Revenue Service. Couples earning less than $150,000 during the 2007 tax year will receive a $1,200 rebate. With two children ages 17 and under, the Scouds will get another tax-free $600 ““ or $300 per child. Forced into rented accommodations after a tree crashed into their Auburn home during the Jan. 4 storm, the family is rebuilding. Most likely it will go toward the house, Scoud said. Auburn's Sarah Spinelli, 82, isn't eligible for the full $600 for individuals earning $75,000 or less but stands to receive a $300 rebate. She's in the class of low-income people who don't pay taxes, including many elderly and disabled veterans. The rebate is $300 if single and $600 for couples. I can use it, Spinelli said. I have grandchildren getting married and want to do something special for them to help them along. Without the rebate, I'd be squeezing the money out of one thing or another. Auburn's Cristie Dojaquez said she's thinking some of the money might go toward a big-screen TV. But I'll try to spend it on U.S. stuff, she said. At Auburn's Big O Tires, owner Dan Luper said he expects the rebate will make a difference in extra sales for his business and help the overall economy. But Luper added that he thinks the rebate may end up helping the taxpayer more than the economy. Already, he's had a couple of inquiries from people who mentioned the prospect of the rebate checks. One woman is planning to buy her daughter new wheels and tires for her Honda. The girl is 16 and a new driver. The four wheels, four tires and an alignment should leave a couple of hundred dollars left over for a few trips for the teen to In-N-Out Burgers with her friends, Luper mused. It's money going back into the economy and that's good, Luper said. President Bush signed legislation Wednesday that will provide about $117 billion in rebates to an estimated 130 million low- and middle-income Americans. The money is intended to provide a late-spring jumpstart to a national economy bogged down in recent months by a credit crisis and slumping dollar. The IRS will send out rebates ““ by mail or direct deposit starting in late May. At Auburn's Victory Velo bike shop, owner Daniel Tebbs said that he and his wife are in line for $2,100. They would receive a $1,200 rebate available to most couples and $300 for each of their children. He won't be buying a new bike. I've got too many bikes already, he said, with a smile. Instead, it will help with my taxes. I'll roll it into what I'll be paying next year. As for customers, a family of four could be outfitted with bikes for $1,200. Or the $1,200 could buy a nice road bike. And that could offset some of the high gas prices if you take it to work, Tebbs said. The Journal's Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment below.