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Bush Open to Talks on Raising Payroll Tax Cap

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (Reuters) - President Bush suggested in an interview published on Wednesday he may be open to negotiation on the issue of allowing more income to become subject to Social Security payroll taxes.

Currently, all income up to $90,000 is subject to the 12.4 percent payroll tax, which is split evenly between employers and employees.

Bush was asked in a newspaper roundtable interview on Tuesday whether he was open to raising the $90,000 cap. He said he would rule out an increase in the tax rate but said he was open other ideas.

"The one thing I'm not open-minded about is raising the payroll tax rate, and all the other issues are on the table and that's important for people to know," Bush was quoted as saying in the Birmingham News, which attended the round-table with five other newspapers.

White House spokesman Trent Duffy confirmed that Bush's position was that he is "opposed to a payroll tax rate increase. All other options are on the table."

Duffy said that while Bush is open to talking about such ideas as the raising the payroll tax cap, "that doesn't mean he's embraced it."

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