|Fred Thompson would extend tax cuts.|
Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson proposed an income tax plan yesterday that would allow Americans to choose a simplified system with only two rates: 10 and 25 percent.
Thompson's proposal, announced on "Fox News Sunday," would allow filers to remain under the current tax code or use the flat tax rates. "We've known for years any time we have lowered taxes and any time we've lowered tax rates, we've seen growth in the economy," the former Tennessee senator said.
Thompson proposed permanently extending tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003, reductions that would end after Dec. 31, 2010, unless Congress acts. Republicans Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and John McCain also have said they would extend the cuts.
Under Thompson's plan, Americans would be given the choice of filing under the current system or a flat tax rate of 10 percent for joint filers with an income of up to $100,000 - $50,000 for single taxpayers; and 25 percent on income above these amounts.
The standard deduction would more than double, rising to $25,000 for joint filers and $12,500 for singles. The personal exemption would be increased to $3,500. A family of four would not pay tax on the first $39,000. The code would contain no other tax credits or deductions, and retain the 15 percent tax rate on capital gains and dividends.
Thompson also favors repealing the estate tax and alternative minimum tax. (AP)
Turning up the heat
Former senator John Edwards of North Carolina outlined a plan yesterday to provide relief to families struggling with high heating oil bills and to help control prices.
Speaking at an inn in Rochester, N.H., the Democratic presidential candidate called on Congress to release some of the nation's home heating oil and crude oil reserves as a way to bring down prices. He also urged lawmakers to fully fund the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
This month, President Bush vetoed a pending bill that included $2.4 billion for heating subsidies for the poor, $480 million more than President Bush requested.
"It's no wonder people are worried and concerned and in some cases having to choose between paying their rent, paying for food, or paying to keep their place warm. . . . Let's get help to people who are struggling and hurting and worried about how they're going to stay warm," Edwards said.
He said he would double the budget of a program that helps people weatherize homes to $500 million a year. The plan reaches about 100,000 of the 28 million homes that could be eligible. (AP)