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Don Evans
Don Evans
Commerce Secretary


Tax Relief Fact Sheet

October 4, 2004

Don Evans

Today President Bush signed into law the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 that will extend tax relief for millions of American families and add momentum to our growing economy. Thanks to the President's actions today, a family of four with an income of $40,000 will save more than $900 on their taxes next year. This legislation also extends the full marriage penalty relief, gives working moms and dads a $1,000 per child tax credit per child through 2010 and lessens the tax burden of lower-income Americans by ensuring the full benefits of the 10% tax bracket.

I'm pleased to be here today to answers your questions about this vital law. Let's begin.

jojo, from Florida writes:
How does president Bush feel about the Taxes and the Budget Deficit?

thank you.

Don Evans
Jojo, each day the President and I go to work and ask ourselves how we can help create more jobs, grow our economy and help more American families live the American Dream. We believe that the way you accomplish that is to create the economic conditions that will lead to job creation-and you do that by taxing Americans less. If you want Americans to spend more and grow our economy you tax them less. If you want fewer Americans spending money on goods and services that help create jobs you tax them more.

The President and I believe everyone who pays taxes deserves tax relief because it’s your money and you have betters ways of spending it than sending it to Washington.

Gabe, from Hutchison, Kansas writes:
Mr Don Evans:If there is such a big deficit, why is the President signing the tax cuts? We all like extra money in our pocket--so is this why?

Don Evans
Gabe, thanks for the question. As the Secretary of Commerce it’s my job to make sure that Americans have the economic security they need to provide for their families. The President’s budget priorities fund the country’s top priorities to fight the war on terror and ensure economic security.

Simply put, tax cuts put more money in the pockets of hard working Americans to spend and invest in their future. For example, as Americans keep more money in their paychecks it is giving them the confidence to make more long-term purchases like buying a home. We are seeing record home sales and more Americans have the keys to their dream home thanks to the President’s economic leadership.

The administration has made it clear that economic growth and fiscal discipline will help meet the President’s goal of cutting the budget deficit in half in five years and create jobs at home.

Gary, from Washington, DC writes:
Mr. Evans, I am honored to be speaking with you today. I am one of the few Republicans on a very liberal college campus. How can I respond to Democratic critics who incessantly charge that "President Bush lost jobs" because of his tax cuts?

Thank you for your time and keep up the great work

Don Evans
Thanks, Gary, for your question. When responding to your classmates, let them know that contrary to what they are saying, the President’s tax relief has actually created jobs—1.7 million of them in the last 12 months. What’s more, our national unemployment rate (5.4%) is below the averages for the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s. By stimulating business investment and consumer spending, the President’s tax cuts have spurred job creation and grown our economy. Good luck!

Mark, from Santa Fe writes:
Do most Americans understand how the tax cuts introduced by President Reagan where a failure and had to be recinded by President Bush? That it took President Clinton 8 years to ELIMINATE the federal deficit and to create a SURPLUS? Now we again have a record federal deficit mainly fueled by tax cuts for the richest people and coroporations. Why do we need tax cuts that have proven to worsen our federal budget?

Don Evans
Good to hear from you Mark. President Bush, working closely with Congress, provided the largest tax relief in a generation. This tax relief gives workers more take-home pay, helps seniors who rely on dividends for income, and small business owners looking to grow, and families with children. In 2004, taxpayers will receive, on average, a tax cut of $1,586.

By ensuring that Americans have more to spend, to save, and to invest, the President’s tax relief fueled an economic recovery.

In addition, President Bush’s proposed budget reduces the annual rate of growth in non-security discretionary spending to 0.5 percent for next year. That’s down from 15 percent in the last budget enacted during the Clinton administration. The President's budget will also put the country on a path toward cutting the deficit in half over the next five years.

Jeff, from Buffalo Grove, Illinois writes:
In light of the 2-year extension for the Work Opportunity Tax Credits which encourages business to hire the less fortunate, what does the President have planned in regards to the 'Opportunity Zones' that we have read about recently?

Don Evans
Jeff, thanks for writing. President Bush believes that America's economic prosperity should extend to every corner of our country. To help reach that goal, his proposed "Opportunity Zone" initiative will assist America's transitioning neighborhoods - those areas that have lost a significant portion of their economic base as a result of our changing economy. Opportunity Zones would ease that transition by using Federal resources to encourage new and existing businesses to invest in these areas. This initiative provides a comprehensive, results-based approach, that expands the focus of assistance to encompass education, job training, affordable housing, and other activities critical for a vibrant community. Areas qualifying for Opportunity Zone status would be moved to the front of the line for certain Federal assistance programs. In addition, Opportunity Zones would encourage businesses to locate, invest, and hire in the community through providing significantly lower effective tax rates on their business income, and incentives to invest and hire new workers.

Ender, from Arizona writes:
Why is it that the vast majority of the current tax cuts, which Bush wants to become perminent, go to the wealthiest people instead of to the middle and lower class Americans?

Don Evans
Actually, Ender, the law signed today by President Bush helps a family of four with an income of $40,000 save more than $900 on their taxes next year. Overall, 94 million Americans will have a lower tax bill next year, including 70 million women and 38 million families with children. In addition, this tax relief extends the full marriage penalty relief to couples who are unfairly taxed just because they are married until 2010. It also lessens the tax burden of lower-income Americans by ensuring the full benefits of the 10% percent tax bracket through 2010 and helps working moms and dads with a $1,000 per child tax credit that will be available through 2010.

Susan, from Colton, California writes:
Rather than focusing on "tax cuts" the President needs to focus on making a push to have state unemployment benefits extended. With the jobless rate on the rise, and the the average time for people in the middle management and technical fields to get rehired being 8 months, the "tax cuts" will do nothing for us.

Don Evans
I appreciate your concern, Susan. President Bush’s number one economic priority is job creation. To that end, the President is committed to policies that will lessen the burden of unemployment and most importantly, shorten its duration. The President’s tax cuts have indeed done just that. Over the past year, 1.7 million jobs have been created, and the unemployment rate is at 5.4%--lower than the average rate for the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s. The President’s tax cuts have encouraged businesses to expand and invest in the future—thus creating more jobs and greater opportunity.

There is still more work to be done. The President has a six-point plan to move our economy forward. By making the tax relief permanent, restraining Federal spending and regulation, reducing our dependence on foreign sources of energy, expanding free trade, limiting frivolous lawsuits, and lowering the cost of healthcare through Association Health Plans and tax-free health savings accounts, the President believes we can expand our economy and create jobs.

Julie, from Manchester, NH writes:
I read that Congress is trying to extend the Tax Cuts that President Bush reccommended (is that the right word?)- What does that mean for average John Q. Public? Can you please explain it in easier language?

Don Evans
Thanks for the question Julie. When the President’s tax cuts were passed in 2003, the legislation included what are called “sunset provisions.” These provisions mandated that much of the tax code changed by the legislation would revert back to its previous state on a certain date. The Bill the President signed today extends many of the tax cuts enacted by the 2003 Jobs and Growth Act. If Congress and the President had not acted to extend these provisions, 94 million tax payers would have faced an average tax increase of over $500. Specifically, the child tax credit would have fallen from $1,000 to $700 per child, and middle class taxpayers would have faced an increased burden with the expiration of the Alternative Minimum Tax.

However, there is still more to be done so that every American who wants a job can find one.

Don Evans
Thank you for the great questions! I hope you have learned more about how the President's tax relief is the right action for our economy and how it helps millions of families and businesses across the country. God bless you all!