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Perry among supporters of Bush's tax-cut plan

BY Gary Scharrer
by Gary Scharrer on 4/12/01.

AUSTIN -- The coming federal tax deadline offers a good reminder that income taxes should be cut, Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday as he and others defended President Bush's proposed $1.6 trillion tax cut.

"Americans shouldn't be overcharged so the federal government can be overweight," Perry said. "It's time to lift the onerous burden of federal taxation off the shoulders of hard-working Americans so that they can save, so that they can plan, so that they can achieve."

After funding priority programs, it comes down to two choices, Perry said: "You get a rebate after being overcharged, or the money will stay in Washington, D.C., and be spent."

Peggy Venable of Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy said Bush's tax-cut plan will help every taxpayer and comes at a good time with a slowing economy and projected federal budget surpluses.

But the tax cut is not as good as advertised, said Dick Lavine, a senior fiscal analyst for the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

A middle-income Texan who makes $32,500 a year will get a tax cut of $578 after the Bush plan is fully in effect, Lavine said. Texans in the top 1 percent income group would get a tax cut of $66,481 a year, he said.

"The Bush tax cut is less than advertised unless you're at the very top of the income ladder," Lavine said. "On average, people won't do half as well as Governor Perry and President Bush are claiming."

In other action

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee voted Wednesday for measures that would temporarily stop executions in Texas and also form a commission to study the state's death-penalty system. The two-year moratorium on executions would be left for Texas voters to decide in the November election if both the Senate and House agree to put the issue on the ballot. A two-thirds majority vote would be required in each chamber. Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, is the author of both measures. Texas religious leaders praised the committee vote. "Our Texas capital-punishment system is a broken legal-social system. The Legislature should suspend executions while we as a state conduct a thorough examination of the system," said Michael Pfeiffer, bishop of the Diocese of San Angelo, president of the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops and outgoing president of the Texas Conference of Churches.

Gary Scharrer may be reached at gscharrer@elpasotimes.comPhoto Caption:Perry

GRAPHIC: Shapleigh