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Study: Rebates to be applied to debts

Consumer survey says that many Americans would use tax rebate funds from a Washington stimulus package to help repay what they owe.

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Rebates: 'No boost to economy'
The stimulus plan is supposed to help the U.S. economy, but many plan on spending it in ways that would send the money overseas.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Americans who would receive a tax rebate under Washington's proposed economic stimulus legislation are most likely to use their rebate money to pay down debt, according to a consumer survey.

The UBS Securities-commissioned survey released by the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc. found that 43% of the 1,000 surveyed Americans would pay off debt, while 26% said they would save the money and only 24% said they would spend it.

"Consumers see this tax rebate program similar to earlier ones and will act in a similar fashion using the lion's share of the rebate money for debt relief," said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist and director of research for ICSC in a statement.

"But still, about $25 billion will head into the spending stream and that is positive for the economy," he added.

The proposed legislation would return $600 to tax-paying individuals that earn under $75,000 annually and $1,200 to couples who make less than $150,000 as part of an economic stimulus plan. To top of page

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