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WNY tax expert breaks down Trump's Executive Order, Memorandums

How soon will $400 unemployment benefits start? Mnuchin says "within the next week or two"
President Trump holds Monday news conference after signing executive order
Posted at 12:29 AM, Aug 11, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — President Donald Trump spoke out on Monday night in a press conference after signing an Executive Order and three memorandums over the weekend concerning unemployment benefits, student loans, payroll tax and eviction protections.

“A lot of money will be going to a lot of people very quickly,” said President Trump.

Tax expert Tim Eliason with EG Tax Service in Tonawanda said he’s fielded numerous calls with questions on the president’s sweeping actions.

“A lot of it was just really a line in the sand that says here are the things that are the priority that I want the American people to know are coming to them. I think this will be content in the new stimulus,” Eliason said.

The headline of the weekend concerned the $400 weekly unemployment supplement. It is set to replace the $600 weekly federal unemployment benefits that recently ended. These benefits would backdate to August 1st and last through the end of the year.

“I think within the next week or two most of the states will be able to execute,” Secretary to the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, said Monday night at the White House press conference.

The federal government would only pay 75% of each benefit, which means the last $100 dollars would be left up to the states.

“Depending on the state, we have the right to do what we want to do. We can terminate the 25% or we don’t have to do that,” said Trump.

The president also signed a memorandum in regards to a payroll tax holiday. Payroll tax is the money taken out of paychecks to cover Social Security and Medicare. This would start in September and last through the end of the year for anyone making less than $104,000 a year.

“It’s not like they’ve forgiven it. They’ve deferred it. So you’re still going to have to pay for it at some point,” warned Eliason.

Trump also tackled student loans. Through the end of the year, interest on loans with the federal government are waived and payments can be delayed through December 31st.

“I’m putting my dad hat on. This is an opportunity. So if you’re working and you have a chance, throw some extra money because right now, any money you put in there is going directly towards the principle,” said Eliason.

There are growing legal concerns and questions since Congress controls federal spending.

“The president can’t set taxes, can’t spend money without the approval of congress,” said Eliason.

Governor Andrew Cuomo met Trump’s actions with sharp criticism Monday afternoon. The governor said not only does he believe what the president is doing is illegal and “unworkable,” he said states simply do not have the money to support the proposed unemployment benefits.

“My advice to the president is, when you are in a hole, stop digging,” said Cuomo in a phone conference with reporters across New York.