Good morning. Next week, the United States Treasury will begin printing and
mailing more than 25 million child tax credit checks, putting over $12 billion
back into the hands of American families. These rebates are the result of
the Jobs and Growth Act I recently signed into law, which increases the child
tax credit from $600 to $1,000 per child. And because this new law reduced
income tax rates, businesses earlier this month lowered tax withholding for
worker paychecks. Now, those workers and their families have a lighter tax
bill and more take-home pay.
With the child tax credit rebates and the lower tax rates taking effect,
America's families will have more of their own money to make purchases,
pay their bills, save for their children's education and invest in a new
home or business. There are hopeful signs that our actions are contributing
to economic growth. Individual investors are showing greater confidence,
leading to a significant rise in the stock market. And thanks to our efforts
to reduce taxes on stock dividends, dozens of major companies have announced
plans to either increase their existing dividend payout, or pay dividends
for the first time, putting billions of dollars in cash into shareholder's
Earlier this week, I met with leading private economists, who see a faster
rate of economic growth in the coming year-and-a-half. The U.S. housing market
is robust, strengthened by low mortgage rates and rising after-tax incomes.
Inflation is low, retail sales have been rising, and productivity growth,
the most important indicator of economic strength, remains high.
My administration remains focused on faster economic growth that will translate
into more jobs. Now that Americans can keep more of what they earn, we can
expect to see rising demand for goods and services. And as demand increases,
companies will need more workers to meet it.
We will continue to take action on a broad agenda for more growth and jobs.
We are pressing the Senate to join the House of Representatives in passing
an energy bill to assure stable and affordable energy supplies. And we're
pressing the Senate on litigation reform, so small businesses and manufacturers
can focus on creating jobs instead of fighting frivolous lawsuits. I'm asking
both houses of Congress to create re-employment accounts for those seeking
jobs, so they can pay for job training and child care and other costs of
Faster economic growth will bring the added benefit of higher revenues for
our government. And those new revenues, combined with spending discipline
in Washington, D.C., are the surest way to bring down the deficit. My budget
for fiscal year 2004 calls for a modest increase in discretionary spending
of only 4 percent, or about the same increase as the average American household
budget. I urge Congress to make spending discipline a priority, so that we
can cut the deficit in half over the next five years.
Government does not create prosperity. Government can, however, create the
conditions that make prosperity possible. The Jobs and Growth Act of 2003
was based on the fundamental faith in the energy and creativity of the American
people. With hard work and daily determination, entrepreneurs and workers
are moving this economy forward. The American economy is headed in the right
direction, and we can be confident of better days ahead.