April 28, 2003

THE WETS ARE RIGHT

Grassley aims for larger tax cuts (Joyce Howard Price, 4/28/03, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley says it "might not be difficult" to get the Senate to approve a $450 billion tax cut but that it will be hard to get the full $550 billion tax cut President Bush is seeking.

Mr. Grassley, Iowa Republican, who earlier pushed a $350 billion tax-cut compromise through the Senate after failing to get more than 48 votes for the president's higher proposal, said yesterday on "Fox News Sunday" that there "will be some attempt" to go above the $350 billion figure by closing corporate tax loopholes and cutting spending.

"I think [it will be] a little bit above, hopefully, quite a bit above [$350 billion], but I can't tell you what that will be right now," Mr. Grassley said.

"I can say flat out it's going to be difficult to get to $550 [billion]. It might not be difficult to get to $425 billion or $450 billion, but, remember, it's got to be dollar-for-dollar" offsets, he said, speaking of a Senate agreement that tax cuts of more than $350 billion be matched by spending reductions.

But Sen. George V. Voinovich, Ohio Republican, who voted for the budget resolution only after the president's tax cut was reduced to $350 billion, says he believes that $350 billion is the "responsible" amount.

Mr. Voinovich, interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press," called the president's request for a $550 billion tax cut "fiscally irresponsible, with the deficits we're confronting" and uncertainty about the cost of the war in Iraq.

"We need a shot in the arm of the economy, but we don't need to shoot ourselves in the foot by increasing the deficit," he said.
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Mr. Voinovich and Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican, both voted to reduce the Bush tax cut to $350 billion. They initially said they would support efforts to increase the tax cut only if they were accompanied by spending offsets.

Mr. Voinovich and Ms Snowe are absolutely right. The President should spend the political capital he has right now to get at least $200 billion in permanent spending cuts to offset further tax cuts. He could demonstrate the good faith of this effort by proposing to eliminate the Commerce Department, a notorious Republican boondoggle, and by adopting the package of business tax loophole closures that John McCain is always championing. If Congress still proves reluctant to cut taxes further, the solution is easy enough: just propose cutting the payroll tax and even Democrats will support it. Sure, it's fiscally irresponsible, but no more so than taxing the American people for the cost of a $2.2 Trillion budget. Posted by Orrin Judd at April 28, 2003 8:21 AM
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