Electronic tax filers on the lookout for stimulus cash

There's good news for e-file taxpayers - rebate money is headed to their accounts Monday.

President George Bush is counting on consumers to use their rebates, totaling about $150 billion, to stimulate the nation's lagging economy. However, not everyone is as hopeful.

"We've had significant increases in food costs, gasoline and energy costs," says Rutgers economics professor Joseph Seneca. "I think they're going to use a significant amount of this to pay off credit cards ? It would be wise ? to save a little bit because of the uncertainties in the economy."

According to Seneca, even if consumers go out and spend their checks, some of the money will be used on imported goods, which will lessen the intended effect of the rebate checks.

Highland Park retailers remain cautiously optimistic. "Not [the rebate] check, but the usual annual tax return ? a lot of people do wait for that check for things like this," says Nathan Fisher, of Highland Park Cyclery. Fisher believes people will spend some money in his shop.

Across the street at Pino's wine store, employees are also hoping their financial spirits will be on the rise.

Seneca feels the rebate checks might be one of several phases meant to inject money into the economy.

IRS: Economic Stimulus Payments Information Center

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