President Reagan is "not interested" in a possible budget compromise developed by some administration officials that would increase taxes by about $45 billion on Jan. 1, 1985, White House counselor Edwin Meese III said yesterday.
Meese said the president expressed emphatic indifference to the idea after The Washington Post reported that senior administration officials favor advancing the effective date of Reagan's standby tax from October to Jan. 1, 1985, and dropping some of the conditions attached to it.
"The president is not interested in any such proposal," Meese said. Deputy White House chief of staff Michael K. Deaver, traveling with Reagan in New Jersey, quoted him as saying of the tax increase idea: "That may be someone's attitude in the administration, but it sure isn't mine."
At his news conference last week, Reagan vowed to veto any tax increase while the economy is recovering in fiscal years 1984 and 1985. Both the House and Senate budget resolutions include tax increases and domestic spending levels that Reagan has termed unacceptable, and the White House moved quickly yesterday to douse any consideration in the administration of tax increases in those years.
Meese said Reagan remains committed to his original proposal for a standby tax increase consisting of a $5-a-barrel excise tax on oil and a 5 percent surcharge on individual and corporate income. This would take effect in October, 1985, at the beginning of fiscal 1986.
The administration had attached as conditions to the tax increase that Reagan's proposed domestic spending cuts and entitlement "reforms" be approved first, as well as that the likely deficit for fiscal 1986 be above a stipulated level.
Meese said Reagan stands by those conditions.
Meese said yesterday that the idea of accelerating the effective date of the standby tax and dropping the conditions are not being contemplated "in any higher circles" of the White House.