, 2000

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JULY 29, 1999  4:02 PM
Senator Paul Wellstone
Jim Farrell or Andrew McDonald 202/2248440
Wellstone Ups the Ante on Marriage Penalty Tax Relief: Calls for Doubling Relief Offered by GOP for Working Families; Measure Would be Paid for by Striking Corporate Welfare Tax Break for Multinational Corporations
WASHINGTON - July 29 - Senator Paul Wellstone will seek to amend the Republican $792 billion tax cut plan (S. 1429) being debated today with a measure to increase marriage penalty tax relief for working couples earning the minimum wage, or less than $34,930 annually. The Wellstone amendment would be paid for by eliminating an undeserved corporate welfare tax break to be enjoyed by multinational corporations.

For a family of two parents both working full-time year-round at a minimum wage job, the Republican plan would reduce their marriage tax penalty by about one-third. The Wellstone amendment would reduce their marriage tax penalty by approximately twice as much, or about 70%.

"This amendment would be a clear victory for working families over fat-cat special interests and the Wall Street crowd who are so richly taken care of by the Grand Old Party in this bill. Average Americans who get up and go to work every day, raise their kids the best they can, and play by the rules don't have the high-paid lobbyists jamming the halls of the Senate this week rigging the tax system in their favor. Let's look out for those deserving Americans and give them some tax relief right now," Wellstone said.

The Wellstone proposal would replace the Republican provision on marriage penalty tax relief for couples claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) with the Finance Committee Democratic alternative. The net cost would be $8.6 billion.

Wellstone's proposal would offset this increased cost by striking Section 901 of S. 1429, which costs $12.6 billion over 10 years. Section 901 allows multinational corporations, including financial services firms, to claim more foreign tax credits by reallocating interest deductions among their foreign affiliates.

Marriage tax penalties are bigger for lower-income families eligible for the EITC than for higher-income families. Yet S. 1249 provides $112 billion in marriage penalty tax relief for upper income earners, and only $5.6 billion for lower income taxpayers.

"This Republican bill attempts once again to push an ever growing portion of the tax burden from the very wealthy and corporate special interests onto working families and the poor. With the passage of this GOP tax bill, economic injustice and inequality will continue to grow in America, not shrink," Wellstone said.

*Wellstone also will press for an amendment to S. 1249 which would limit eligibility for the bill's tax benefits to taxpayers earning less than $1 million per year.


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