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Candidates' tax cuts

Oct. 11, 2000

Gore's proposal to cost less, help neediest people

With large budget surpluses expected, both major party presidential candidates are proposing tax cuts, and Vice President Al Gore's and Gov. George W. Bush's tax cuts differ greatly, both in who would benefit and in total cost. Not only would Gore's tax plan be cheaper, leaving more of the projected surplus to help other areas like Social Security, health care and education, it would primarily benefit low- and middle-income families who need the assistance the most.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated a $4.5 trillion surplus. Bush's across-the-board tax cut would take $1.6 trillion from the surplus, according to U.S. News and World Report. Gore's tax cut, on the other hand, would cost an estimated $500 billion over a 10-year period. His plan would leave an additional $1.1 trillion of the budget surplus to invest in Social Security, health care, education and other important programs. Both candidates' tax cuts are expensive, but we believe if the government is going to give tax cuts, they should go toward the people that need them the most.

Gore would offer several tax cuts to middle income families, specifically targeted to areas such as child care, after-school programs, college tuition and marriage taxes. He would give a $500 tax credit for families to help pay for child care, and would pay up to 50 percent of the costs associated with after-school programs. Gore also would offer tax-free tuition for up to $2,800 a year and would remove the estate tax on all estates valued up to $5 million. His plan would also expand the earned-income tax credit for low-income families to cover up to 6.8 million more people.

Bush's plan is much less complicated. It would simply give a tax cut to everyone by cutting the tax percentile from 15 percent to 10 percent. But because of the nature of his tax cut, we believe it would not benefit the hard-working families that need relief the most. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, a family making $13,600 to $24,400 would get an average deduction of approximately $187 a year. In fact, 42 percent of Bush's tax cut would go to the top 1 percent of Americans who earn $915,000 or more a year.

The United States is lucky to have a budget surplus, and we should make sure the money is allocated wisely. Gore's tax cuts would primarily benefit Americans that struggle to pay the bills most, and at the same time would leave plenty of the budget to maintain and improve other programs.