U.S. President George Bush says tax rebates for more than 130 million American households should help stimulate an economy hurt by falling home prices and higher food and energy costs. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

More than 7 million Americans should see the tax rebates in their bank accounts in the coming week. Those who chose to receive their refunds through the mail should have their checks early next month.

President Bush says the rebates of up to $600 a person and $300 per child will help stimulate the economy by the start of the third economic quarter in July.

"We want to make sure everyone who's eligible for a check gets one on a timely basis," he said.  "This money is going to help Americans offset the high prices we're seeing at the gas pump and at the grocery store, and it will also give our economy a boost to help us pull out of this economic slowdown," he said.

President Bush and both political parties in Congress agreed on this temporary economic stimulus plan of tax rebates and business incentives as the U.S. economy has lost nearly 250,000 jobs so far this year.

Unemployment is above five percent for the highest level in two years. Rising food and fuel costs are depressing retail sales.  Home prices nationwide are down 10 percent.  Consumer confidence is at a 26-year low.  Public opinion polls say the economy has replaced the war in Iraq as the single biggest issue on the minds of voters ahead of November's presidential election.