Friday, June 16, 2000

Gore outlines new tax cuts

Campaign visits food warehouse

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Jenna Catanzaro listens to Al Gore discuss his tax plan on a visit to Catanzaro Sons & Daughters food warehouse.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
        LOCKLAND — Sitting on a stack of 50-pound rice bags with one black cowboy boot propped on a box of yams, Vice President Al Gore said Thursday he has a $500 billion tax plan that will put more food on working-class tables while not jeopardizing the economy.

        Mr. Gore promised his 10-year plan will help middle-class families in several ways, while still allowing the government to strengthen Social Security, protect Medicare and pay down the national debt.

        After a brief stop for chocolate chip ice cream in Oakley, Mr. Gore made his announcement during a campaign stop at a food distributor in Cincinnati.

        At times, Mr. Gore played talk-show host as he interviewed a handful of Tristate families and asked them questions about how his plan would help their families.

        It was the third day of Mr. Gore's “Prosperity and Progress” tour, during which he plans to talk about different aspects of his economic plan in different cities.

Ohio a key state
        Mr. Gore saved his tax-break plan for Ohio, which figures to be one of a handful of battleground states that will decide November's election.

        Among the benefits for families, Mr. Gore said his plan will:

        • Make health insurance more affordable for small business owners trying to provide coverage for their employees.

        • Help families pay for child care. Families providing health care for elderly or disabled family members also would benefit under the proposal.

        • Eliminate the marriage penalty faced by many couples when filing income tax.

        • Make tuition tax-deductible.

        • Help families save for retirement.

        “We need to keep prosperity going, build on it and make sure no one is left behind,” he said.

        The plan nearly doubles Mr. Gore's original tax break proposal — something he says is possible because the country's budget surplus will be larger than expected.

Bush cuts larger
        Still, his plan pales in comparison to Texas Gov. George W. Bush's proposed $1.3 trillion tax break plan, which Mr. Gore calls dangerous because it could halt economic growth.

        Ari Fleischer, spokesman for Mr. Bush's presidential campaign, said Thursday that the vice president is “getting warmer” with his latest proposal.

        “While attempting to claim credit for our prosperity, Al Gore followed Gov. Bush's lead by offering tax cuts to hard-working Americans who are responsible for our robust economy,” Mr. Fleischer said.

        “Mr. Bush didn't need polls or focus groups to know that Americans deserve some of their money back.”

        Mr. Gore said the Bush plan was irresponsible.

        “If we stop paying down the debt, we will ensure our prosperity ends,” Mr. Gore said. “We need to balance the budget every year; that builds confidence in our economic policies and keeps growth roaring along.”

Tax woe cited
        Back in the warehouse at Frank J. Catanzaro Sons & Daughters, Inc., Richard and Rashonda Frazier told Mr. Gore they had to pay more income tax this year as a married couple than last year when they filed separate returns.

        The Fraziers make a combined income of about $40,000 per year.

        “We shouldn't be discouraging marriage, that's pretty clear,” Mr. Gore said.

        Frank Catanzaro, who took over the family business at age 15, said providing health insurance for employees is one of the biggest expenses for any small business owner.

        Mr. Catanzaro, a staunch Republican, said he likes the Gore plan and was honored to have the vice president visit his business.

        “His answers were good, but will he carry them out?” Mr. Catanzaro asked afterward. “I was glad to have him in because I respect the office.

        “And you should always listen to both sides of the story before making up your mind.”

        And is Mr. Catanzaro's mind made up?

        He didn't say a word; he just held up a Republican pin he had inside his shirt pocket.

Gore vs. Bush on tax cut plans

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