Ashcroft Takes A Stab At Tax Reform
By Bob Franken/CNN
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 12) -- Sen. John Ashcroft, a possible presidential candidate in 2000, joined the parade of tax reformers today with a major reform plan that includes allowing taxpayers to deduct Social Security payroll taxes from their income taxes.
"What I hear about taxes over and over is this: It is time to spell reform: R-E-D-U-C-E, reduce," Ashcroft said today.
Among the proposal's ten points are changes that are friendly to families, the middle class and the polls.
The Missouri Republican's plan would replace the "marriage penalty" and allow couples to divide their two incomes in half and pay lower rates. It also would allow tax deductions for Social Security payroll taxes.
The message was consistent with what Ashcroft has been leaking for several days now. He joins a long line of Republicans on the tax bandwagon.
Steve Forbes, a 1996 presidential candidate, and Jack Kemp, the 1996 Republican vice-presidential nominee, both advocate a flat tax.
Ashcroft seems to be telling them to get real. "I guess I believe this provides an opportunity for immediate tax relief that isn't accorded in the same measure by the flat tax and the consumption tax," he said.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich has also weighed in on the tax debate. He has said he wants something that reduces total taxes to no more than 25 percent of income.
Other than House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), who has long touted a modified flat tax, Democrats have been pretty quiet about tax cuts.