Sen. Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) said yesterday he hopes to move through his Finance Committee a bill that would increase taxes $20 billion to $25 billion in 1983.
That was Dole's reply when asked about his plans now that a deficit reducing agreement has eluded negotiators for the White House and Congress, and the congressional committees have been left to work out tax and spending plans for next year on their own.
But whether, without such an overall agreement, it will be possible to round up the votes for specific tax increases in this election year remained in doubt.
Thus in the House, Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, indicated that the governing Democrats will defer to the Senate in raising taxes.
Democrats do not want to take responsibility for tax increases. In addition, Rostenkowski, according to some sources, wants Dole to see the difficulties of raising a major amount of money without cutting back on the third year of the individual income tax cut voted last year and scheduled to take effect July 1, 1983.
The Democrats want to rescind this to help cut the deficit. Among other objections, they say it is tilted toward the rich. President Reagan does not agree, and that was one of the issues on which the budget talks broke down.
Reversing earlier assessments, Dole insisted yesterday that a majority of both the Finance Committee and the full Senate would vote to retain the 10 percent cut in rates next year.
But he also acknowledged in a speech and an interview how hard it probably will be to win approval of tax increases. Of 20 Finance Committee members, "there are 10 running for reelection and one retiring. That leaves nine on active duty," he said wryly.
Another method of reducing the deficits--cutting back on cost-of-living allowances or COLAs in Social Security and other entitlement programs--is an impossible goal this year, according to Dole. "If I mention Social Security in the Finance Committee there may be an evacuation."
One of the key tax proposals, he noted, is a corporate mininum tax. But, when the bargaining starts, opponents of a corporate minimum tax will start negotiating with those fighting to preserve corporate tax sales through so-called leasing arrangements, and in both cases present law may prevail.
New restrictions on deductions for consumer interest and sales tax payments also "should be considered, but I'm not certain it will be considered," he said.
Still another alternative would be a broad new energy tax, which would raise significant amounts of money, he said, but is unpalatable in that it would increase home heating bills and the price of gasoline.
While declining to be as specific about tax proposals as Dole, Rostenkowski noted, "Democrats in an election year are the most undisciplined group I've ever been associated with."
In addition, the Chicago Democrat indicated it will be difficult to win approval of major legislation without presidential endorsement. "Only the president can lead the country in a way that people will accept sacrifice," he said.
Dole, in addition to contending that the third year of the tax cut will not be repealed in the Senate, also said a proposed temporary surtax on high income persons is "off the table now" because it would be interpreted as a partial dilution of the individual rate cuts.
Such a surtax, like an energy tax, was considered by the budget negotiators but never won approval.