Restaurants to benefit from stimulus bill

WASHINGTON Restaurants would be able to write off 50 percent of their 2008 equipment purchases and expense up to $250,000 of their investments in new buildings or other tangible property under the economic stimulus bill that President Bush said he will sign into law next week.

The measure also provides tax rebates of $600 for individuals making $75,000 or less per year or $1,200 for couples earning no more than $150,000. Families would receive another $300 per child. The rebates are reduced for persons above those income thresholds.

The rebate checks are scheduled to be mailed starting in early May. Some observers have said the rebates should have a positive short-term effect on restaurants’ top lines as consumers use the newfound money in part for dining out. But they say the upswing in sales fizzle out once the rebates are spent. 

The bipartisan stimulus bill, first proposed by President Bush just two weeks ago, is expected to pump more than $152 billion into the economy.