February 7, 2006 in Nation/World

President urges tax cuts

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

Medicare cuts

President Bush’s proposed budget:


Cuts projected Medicare spending by $35.9 billion over five years. Without legislative changes, the federal health insurance program for the elderly and disabled would grow at an annual rate of 8.1 percent. Under the president’s proposal, Medicare spending would grow at a rate of 7.7 percent.

Cuts the Administration for Children and Families budget by about $1.4 billion to $12.3 billion, mainly through the elimination of block grants that pay for job training, housing and health programs intended to reduce poverty. The administration says the block grant program lacks performance measurements and does not award grants on a competitive basis.

WASHINGTON – President Bush urged lawmakers Monday to reduce taxes $1.7 trillion over the next decade, mostly cementing tax cuts passed earlier in his presidency.

The budget blueprint asks lawmakers to preserve tax cuts passed in recent years for workers, parents, investors and others. Those reductions would otherwise disappear by the end of the decade.

“Allowing the tax relief to expire would result in large tax increases for millions of American families and businesses,” the White House said in its budget documents.

Bush also proposed bigger tax breaks for small businesses and a broad expansion of health savings accounts, which would let individuals and families covered by high-deductible health insurance policies put aside money tax-free for medical expenses.

Keeping already-enacted tax cuts in place for the coming decade would reduce money projected to flow from taxpayers to the federal government by $1.4 trillion.

Details provided by the Treasury Department show the annual cost of keeping the tax reductions alive in the years after the president leaves office, after the tax cuts are scheduled to expire.

Bush’s tax cuts would amount to $229 billion in fiscal year 2012 and grow to $263 billion in 2016, the last year covered by the budget. Those reductions include lower income tax rates, larger child tax credits, reduced taxes on capital gains and dividends, the elimination of estate taxes and others.

The White House did not propose a permanent fix for the alternative minimum tax but urged Congress to keep a temporary solution in place for another year, an idea that lawmakers already have under debate.

Meant to trap wealthy tax dodgers, the alternative minimum tax hits more middle class families each year. The Treasury Department said 4 million taxpayers paid it last year, but more than 22 million can expect to pay this year without congressional intervention.

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