President Bush urged Congress on Saturday to make permanent the $1.3 trillion, 10-year tax cut that he signed into law last year.
With Monday's deadline for federal tax returns looming, Bush trumpeted the tax cuts, saying they have already brought most taxpayers a share of $57 billion in reductions. The tax cuts increase each year through 2010, but will expire then if Congress doesn't extend them.
"This year, your tax rates are lower and you will keep more of your hard-earned money to spend or save," the president said in his weekly radio address. "And perhaps the best news of all is that even more relief is on the way for many years to come."
Bush plans to promote the tax cuts again Monday in a speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the state that is home to the first contest in presidential elections.
The Republican-controlled House takes up a bill next week that would make the tax decreases permanent. "I urge Congress to pass this vital measure," Bush said.
That is unlikely to happen this year, however, because of opposition from Democratic leaders in the Senate. They blame Bush's tax cuts for contributing to the return of deficits, darkening the nation's long-term budget picture and siphoning money from domestic programs such as education and Medicare.
Bush said the tax cuts are "a crucial part of my administration's overall economic growth agenda, to create more high-paying jobs."
He noted that the child tax credit was increased to $600 for the returns being filed this year and will reach $1,000 by 2010. Taxpayers also can save more of their money tax-free through education saving accounts, individual retirement accounts or company 401(k) plans this year, he said.
In 2010, when the tax cut is fully phased in, he said, 43 million married couples will see their taxes reduced on average by more than $1,700 per year and 3.9 million low-income Americans will have their tax liability completely eliminated.
Bush and his wife, Laura, paid $250,202 in federal income taxes this year — 31 percent of their $811,100 adjusted gross income for 2001, according to forms released by the White House on Friday.