Republican congressional leaders talked of possible compromise on a tax bill yesterday, but were quickly rebuffed by the White House, which sent both public and private signals that President Reagan is unwilling to change his proposal for a 25 percent cut in income tax rates over 33 months.
"The president will not compromise on his basic principles," said deputy press secretary Larry Speakes. "He will not compromise on cutting taxes. He wants a tax cut across the board for all Americans, not just some Americans."
Speakers made it clear he was speaking for the president, and brushed aside questions about a statement by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) that compromising with the Democrats on tax relief for middle Americans "would not do violence to Reagan's tax plan."
A White House official said later that the administration wants to avoid "any show of weakness" that would suggest to congressional Republcians that now is the time for a compromise.
The administration comments came as the House Ways and Means Committee completed action on a series of tax breaks for small business and for Americans working overseas, and amid signs that Democratic leaders may also propose tax cuts for independent oil producers and royalty owners on a way of keeping the support of southern Democrats who jumped to the president's side on the budget votes earlier this year.
This favorable tax treatment -- possibly in the form of cuts in the Carter administration's "windfall proffits" tax on crude oil -- is aimed mainly at Louisiana and Texas "boll weevils" who shifted sides on the budget TAXES, From A1> get and provided the president with his margin of victory.
Treasury Secretary Donald T. Regan yesterday attacked as a "real budget buster" one oil tax proposal, which is to exempt independent producers and royalty owners from the windfall tax on their first 1,000 barrels of oil a day. This would cost $4 billion a year, Reagan said at a breakfast with reporters.
Ways and Means Democrat James R. Jones (Okla.) predicted that as many as 30 votes in the House could depend on an oil tax cut. He said that 20 Texans, four or five members from Louisiana and the same from Oklahoma could be swayed.
The Democrats favor in general a two-year cut for individuals, skewed more toward middle- and lower-income groups, rather than the administration's equal three-year cut for all income groups, which has been incorporated in a tax bill already approved by the Senate Finance Committee.
Finance Chairman Dole said this week that he thought there could be a compromise over this and the two parties' proposals for business tax cuts, and yesterday House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. (D-Mass.) and Senate Majority Leader Howard H. Baker Jr. (R-Tenn.) both said before the White House scotched such talk that they were willing to work toward compromise.
Secretary Regan said for his part that he thought the administration's bill was "do-able" on the floor of the House, although he indicated the Treasury might make adjustments if needed in some areas to avoid a floor fight. He also attacked the proposed new savings certificate backed by the savings and loan industry, and said his officials were looking at alternatives, although they are hard to devise.
Meanwhile, Ways and Means yesterday tentatively approved.
A $9.6 billion set of tax cuts for small businesses, including an increase from $100,000 to $200,000 by 1983 in the threshold above which the top rate, now 46 percent, applies. These cuts would cost $520 million in fiscal 1982, rising to $2,844 million by 1984. Tax cuts in the top corporate rate of 46 percent were approved by the committee last month.
An exemption from tax for the first $75,000 a year earned by Americans working overseas, along with a housing allowance. This would exempt from tax about 90 percent of all income earned abroad by Americans.
A new 25 percent tax credit against wages and supplies earmarked for research and experimentation.
Ways and Means will consider ways to raise revenues today, chiefly by ending so-called commodity tax straddles, and will move to individual rate cuts next week.
Chairman Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.) said he hopes the committee's tax bill will reach the House floor on July 29, and be finished there by the end of the month.
The Senate plans to take up its tax bill next Wednesday and to finish by the end of the week, going on into a Saturday session if necessary.