Bush Says Kerry Would Take Away Tax Cut
By SCOTT LINDLAW
The Associated Press
Thursday, March 4, 2004; 6:35 PM
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - President Bush charged Thursday that Democratic rival John Kerry's approach to recent tax cuts would be to "take them away" and use the money to expand the federal government.
"I have a better idea: to keep this economy growing and to create jobs, the tax cuts must be permanent," Bush said at a fund-raiser where he banked more than $700,000 for a re-election war chest that already dwarfs Kerry's.
It was the final stop on a two-day, $5 million dash through California for political cash.
"My opponent has plans for the tax cuts. He wants to take them away," Bush said in Santa Clara.
In fact, the Massachusetts senator and Bush both would keep in place key tax cuts that are due to expire at the end of the year: an increase in the child tax credit; tax reductions for some married couples who would pay more than they would as individuals; and an expansion of the bottom 10 percent tax bracket.
Virtually the only area where they disagree on this issue is on Kerry's call to end tax cuts Bush signed into law for those earning more than $200,000 a year.
Bush pressed a similar tax theme at a "conversation on the economy" in Bakersfield.
At Rain for Rent, which rents irrigation equipment, Bush shared a stage with five people selected by the White House. Among them was Ismael Diaz, a company engineer who said he had saved more than $3,000 thanks to recent tax cuts.
"When you hear, 'Oh, I don't want to make the tax cuts permanent,' you translate to that, 'We're going to raise Ismael's taxes.' That's what they're saying," Bush said.
Kerry's campaign hit back even before Bush started talking. It noted that hundreds of thousands more people are unemployed in California than when Bush took office in January 2001, and that the unemployment rate in this inland region is more than 13 percent.
"George W. Bush has consistently promised that his tax cuts will deliver jobs, but the results are terrible," Kerry's campaign said in a statement.
Presidential candidates have long used the nation's most populous state as a political ATM, breezing through for big infusions of cash. The state has chipped in a total of $12.5 million to Bush's re-election fund, according to Brad Freeman, Bush's point man for fund raising in California.
Bush pulled in $700,000 Thursday in Santa Clara and $800,000 in Los Angeles Wednesday, both for his re-election. He raised another $3.5 million Wednesday night in Bel-Air for the Republican National Committee.
Bush had raised more than $154 million for his re-election before coming to California.
© 2004 The Associated Press