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Bush Presses Congress on Tax Cuts - 2003-01-11

President Bush used his weekly radio address to press for Congressional action on $670 billion worth of proposed tax cuts. Democrats have a rival plan they say gives more help to state governments.

President Bush says his new economic plan will help create more jobs and speed-up the nation's economic recovery. He wants to accelerate tax cuts already approved by Congress to stimulate consumer spending. "For all income taxpayers, I propose speeding up the tax cuts already approved by Congress, because Americans need that relief today," he said.

If Congress approves his plan, President Bush says, 92 million Americans will pay about $1,000 less in taxes.

He also wants to eliminate taxes paid on corporate dividends, a measure that has drawn criticism from Congressional Democrats, who say that unfairly favors the wealthy.

In the Democratic response to the president's radio address, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said a $50 billion alternative plan will provide temporary tax relief, federal assistance for states and more help for unemployed workers. "Our challenge is to help Washington pass a real stimulus plan that puts money in the pockets of those who will spend the money right away - the unemployed middle-class working families - while recognizing the condition of cash-strapped state governments," said Bill Richardson.

President Bush says Democrats are engaging in what he calls "class warfare," by criticizing his plan as favoring wealthier Americans.

Mr. Bush says he is also moving to restore investor confidence in corporate integrity, which was shaken by a series of accounting scandals.

He is proposing a major increase in funding for the federal agencies responsible for prosecuting corporate crime. Mr. Bush says that will lead to hundreds of new accountants, lawyers, and examiners policing corporate conduct. "Our country has made great progress in restoring investor confidence, and putting the recession behind us," said President Bush. "We cannot be satisfied, however, until every corporate wrongdoer is held to account, and every part of our economy is strong, and every person who wants to work can find a job."

The president's plan is facing opposition in Congress from some Republicans, as well, who feel it is too expensive, at a time when the country may soon have to pay for a war in Iraq.