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Gore's Tax Break Dance

Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore is promising $500 billion in tax relief over a period of 10 years to help middle-class Americans pay for tuition, buy health insurance and save for retirement. The proposal was originally outlined at half the price, but as projected government surpluses grew, so did Gore's plan.

Although the vice president's plan ups the ante in the tax-cutting debate, Gore's package is still dwarfed by what George W. Bush has in mind. The Texas governor wants to cut taxes by $1.3 trillion over 10 years, while Gore says the country can't afford it.

Gore's Tax Relief Package
  • Expand tax credits for day care
  • Parents who stay at home with infants may use $500 child care tax credit
  • Provide tax credits for after-school care
  • Give a $3,000 tax credit for long-term care
  • Expand the earned income tax credit for poor Americans
  • Give married couples the same standard deduction if they remained single
  • Small business get 25 percent tax credits on health care premium costs
  • Refundable tax credits for people lacking access to employer-based health insurance
  • Create tax credits for school construction
  • Provide families with deductions or credit on tuition and fees for any post-secondary education
  • Make tax-free savings accounts for college more accessible and flexible
  • Create investment accounts for life-long learning programs
  • Give tax credits for small companies that contribute to employee pensions
  • Use tax credits as incentive to create parks, conserve lands and reward the use of energy-efficient cars, appliances and homes.
  • The cornerstone of Bush's plan is an across-the-board income tax cut. He sees a hefty tax cut as an insurance policy against an economic downturn and a way to keep politicians from spending surpluses over the next decade on wasteful government programs.

    Gore's cuts would be more targeted, aimed at the heart of poll-tested issues such as education, health care and retirement savings.

    Bush is forging his own brand of Reaganomics; Gore is an apostle of Clintonomics.

    "Here's what I won't do: I won't be profligate with your money," Gore said Tuesday. "I won't spend money that we don't yet have on a huge tax cut our economy can't afford, in ways that could end our prosperity and progress."

    In that speech, Gore outlined a new initiative to establish tax-free voluntary retirement accounts that would supplement Social Security. He did not provide the cost or the details behind the proposal.

    Wrapping up the first week of his "progress and prosperity" tour - designed to convince voters that he deserves some credit for the nation's soaring economy - the vice president is set to unveil his package in Cincinnati on Thursday. Polls show Bush hlds a slight lead over Gore in Ohio, a key state for both candidates.