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March 2, 1998

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We all agree that it is time to reform our tax code. But there is a right way and a wrong way to do reform. And abolishing the tax code is no substitute for a real plan for reform. Instead, we must continue reforming the tax code to reflect our values and priorities.

President Bill Clinton
March 2, 1998

Today, President Clinton voices his strong opposition to the reckless and irresponsible calls to eliminate the tax code, and renews his commitment to improving and streamlining the tax code through reforms that move America forward -- reforms that are fair to working families, preserve fiscal discipline, boost our economy, simplify the process, and protect Social Security.

The Strongest Economy In A Generation. President Clinton's three-part economic strategy --cutting the deficit, investing in our people, opening new markets to American goods and services -- is working for America's families. Since 1993 it has helped bring about: nearly 15 million new jobs; the lowest unemployment rate in a quarter century; the highest homeownership rate on record; the lowest inflation in a generation; an increase in family income of nearly $2,200; and, this year, the lowest Federal tax burden on typical middle-income families in more than 20 years.

A Responsible Approach To Reforming Our Tax Code. This year, President Clinton submitted the first balanced budget in a generation. Instead of deficits, America is looking forward to $1 trillion in surpluses over the next ten years. Unfortunately, there are some in Congress who want to take advantage of this opportunity and take America backwards. Under the guise of tax reform, they are proposing a reckless and irresponsible plan to eliminate the tax code by 2002. President Clinton is committed to improving and streamlining our tax code, but will only support reform proposals that move America forward -- those that are fair to working families, preserve fiscal discipline, boost our economy, simplify the process, and protect Social Security.

Lower Federal Tax Burden For Middle-Income Families. Already, because of the President's 1993 Economic Plan and the 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement, the typical middle-income family -- with an income of about $50,000 -- will have the lowest Federal tax burden in 20 years (1976); for a family with an income of about $25,000, the average federal tax burden will be the lowest in more than three decades (1966).

Reforming The Tax Code To Reflect Our Values And Priorities. Over the past five years, President Clinton has passed tax cuts to help working families and promote education. The President's balanced budget builds on this record and provides targeted tax relief for child care, education, and the environment -- all fully paid for. The Presidents efforts are also:

  • Cutting and Simplifying Taxes. President Clinton proposed and signed into law 40 tax simplification measures. The balanced budget agreement ensures that 99 percent of homeowners will never pay capital gains tax on the sale of their home and over 90 percent of corporations, especially small businesses, do not have to worry about the alternative minimum tax.
  • Making It Easier to File Taxes. The Administration is aggressively pushing its innovative programs to have people file their tax returns simply and easily by computer or telephone. As of February 20th, 10.7 million taxpayers had already filed electronically, up 19 percent from last year. Another 3.8 million taxpayers have already filed by telephone this year, an increase of 25 percent compared to last year. The typical call takes about ten minutes.
  • Reforming the IRS. The President signed into law a taxpayer bill of rights and has been urging the Senate pass the House passed IRS reform bill.

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