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Study: Bush Plan Better for NY
Three times the tax savings, conservative group says
By James T. Madore
New Yorkers would save three times more under tax-cutting proposals from Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush than Democrat Al Gore, according to a study released yesterday.
The Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, predicted the Texas governor's plan would give New Yorkers as a group $11.1 billion annually in income-tax relief compared with $3.5 billion under the vice president's plan.
The same trend existed in the income tax proposals put forward by U.S. Senate candidates Rick Lazio and Hillary Clinton, according to the institute.
Both the Gore and Clinton campaigns yesterday questioned the institute's veracity, and a Clinton spokeswoman said the report failed to include the first lady’s complete tax plan.
"The only thing right about this study is the far-right leanings of its authors," said Dan Pfeiffer, a Gore spokesman.
Pfeiffer criticized the institute for including the super rich in its calculations of average household income, and then concluding that many state residents wouldn't be eligible for Gore's tax credits for child care, college tuition and elder care because their incomes are too high. Said Pfeiffer, "Their numbers are skewed by billionaires."
The well-off are not a small group in New York state, according to Edmund J. McMahon Jr., author of the institute's study, which is one of the first to examine the tax proposals' impacts on the region. He said nearly half of the families of four earn more than $60,000 and they would receive greater tax savings with Bush in the White House than Gore.
The primary reason for this, McMalion said, is the Texas governor's intention to overhaul the current rate structure: adding a 10 percent bracket at the bottom, and lowering the top rate to 33 percent from the current 39.6 percent. This would result in across-the-board tax reductions for everyone, McMahon said. Prior to joining the institute, McMahon worked in the state Tax Department, at the State University of New York and the Business Council of New York State, a leading business group.
McMahon also said Bush's policies would go a long way toward addressing the long-standing imbalance between the tax dollars New York state sends to Washington, D.C., and the federal grants received.
Bush campaign spokesman Ken Lisaius said the institute's report reinforces the GOP candidate's argument that "all taxpayers deserve relief and that his plan is fair."
The institute also studied the tax plans of Senate Republican candidate Lazio and Democrat Clinton. It concluded the Brightwaters congressman would save taxpayers $4.2 billion annually while the first lady would save $1.2 billion.
The savings difference stems from Lazio's allowing taxpayers to deduct Social Security taxes from their federal income taxes and providing more generous relief from the marriage penalty.
The Lazio campaign didn't return telephone calls seeking comment.
Clinton policy director Neera Tanden blasted the institute for not considering Clinton's retirement savings plan, which together with her other tax-cutting ideas would produce a yearly savings that nearly equals that of Lazio's plan. "This report is inaccurate," Tanden said.
The institute's McMahon said the Clinton retirement plan doesn't benefit individuals, so it was excluded from the analysis.
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