Editorial: Target tax cuts to those who were left out

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 12, 2003

It’s time for Congress to stop playing games with tax cuts and pass a bill that will extend child tax credits to low-income families who were left out of this year’s original tax-relief bill.

The Senate has passed a bill that does just that, but the House version is causing controversy because it also includes more cuts for wealthier families. With billions in tax cuts for middle- and higher-income Americans already in the bag, there is no need for more cuts for the higher income levels. In fact, with a $400 billion projected budget deficit, tacking on more tax cuts looks irresponsible.

The latest round of cuts has only come up to right a wrong.

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In the tax cut that was passed, middle-income families are scheduled to receive about a $400 tax credit for each child in the family because the federal child tax credit was raised from the former $600 per child to a $1,000 per child for this year. The credit is retroactive to the last tax filing period, so the government then owes each of the families about $400 per child. The U.S. Treasury is expected to mail out the tax credit checks sometime in July and August.

But left out of the tax credit were some 6.5 million low-income families that earn more than $10,500 but less than $27,000 a year.

Now, conservative and moderate Republicans are threatening to vote against the House bill. The more conservative members want it to cut taxes even more, and the moderates want to remove the cuts for all but the low-income families.

Republicans have already got the tax relief they pushed for. It’s time to ensure that all Americans can share in that relief, not continue pushing for more and more cuts for those who already will receive plenty. President Bush should get involved immediately to talk some sense into the House and get the right package passed without further delay.