Thu, May 08, 2003 - Page 7 News List

US Democrats unveil rival tax cut package

REDUCTION In opposition to Bush's plan, democrats say their package will cut taxes for every working American and immediately stimulate the sluggish economy

AFP , WASHINGTON,

US Democrats on Tuesday proposed a tax cut package to rival President George W. Bush's proposal, a plan they say will benefit more people and give a bigger boost to the flagging US economy.

In contrast to the current plan supported by Bush that would slash taxes by US$550 billion over 10 years, Democrats said their plan would reduce taxes by just $US152 billion over that time period.

"Our plan cuts taxes for every working American," Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle said.

"The cuts will pump US$61 billion into America's economy now, when we need the stimulus.

"That's real tax relief now for working families all across America," said Daschle, leader of the minority Democrats in the US Senate.

The plan envisioned by congressional Democrats would provide US4,300 in tax cuts for each adult, and US$300 each for the first two children.

The plan also proposes increasing child tax credits and reducing the "marriage penalty," the disparity in taxes paid by married couples compared with unmarried singles earning the same income.

"These tax cuts will save a family of four, making approximately US$50,000, US$1,630 in their taxes this year," the senator said.

Daschle added that businesses would also receive a break under the Democrats' plan.

"Our plan helps small business, the backbone of our economy, with a 50 percent tax credit to help employers maintain health coverage for their workers. And it provides large and small companies with incentives to invest and create jobs this year," he said.

"Our plan puts America back on the path of fiscal responsibility. It provides three times more economic boost this year, when we need it the most, than the Republican plan, at a fraction of the cost. And it doesn't create huge, permanent, new obligations that will worsen our long-term economic situation," Daschle said.

Democrats said they planned to offer their proposal when budget legislation comes before the Senate next week.

The Democrats' proposal comes in answer to Bush's tax cut proposal, which has been bogged down by wrangling among legislators.

The White House had sought US$726 billion in tax cuts it says are needed to stimulate the economy.

Bush has said his plan would create one million new jobs, and would cut tax rates on the small businesses all across the country.

After the US Senate last month in its budget blueprint capped tax cuts at US$350 billion, the president said he now supports a tax cut of at least US$550 billion.

The proposals came as both chambers of Congress, and both political parties, continued negotiations Tuesday over the size and shape of the package on Capitol Hill.

The House Ways and Means Committee approved a US$550 billion version of the plan late Tuesday.

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