Three times a week, The Associated Press picks an issue and asks Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (search) and Republican President Bush (search) a question about it. Today's question and responses:
TAXES: What further income-tax cuts, if any, do you support?
Bush: "I will make tax reform a key priority in my second term. In my first three years in office, I signed historic and comprehensive tax relief that has reduced the marriage penalty (search), doubled the child tax credit (search) to $1,000, reduced rates across the board, and eliminated the death tax (search). This relief has reduced the tax burden for 111 million Americans, including 43 million families in 2004. We also quadrupled the amount small businesses can expense to $100,000 in investment each year. And because 90 percent of small businesses pay taxes at individual rates, the across-the-board income tax cuts have extended relief to more than 25 million small business owners and entrepreneurs. This tax relief should be made permanent; otherwise, starting next year, 37 million families with children, 11 million seniors, and 23 million small business owners will see their taxes increase. In addition, I have proposed to create new American Opportunity Zones (search) so that communities going through an economic transition can get the help they need to regain their prosperity."
Kerry: "Under George Bush, the tax burden in America has been shifted from the wealthy to the middle class. That's wrong. To get our economy moving, we need to provide middle-class tax relief (search) for families trying to afford college and all Americans and small businesses struggling with the cost of health care (search). We should cut taxes for businesses that create jobs here in the United States and stop using the tax code so American workers subsidize shipping their own jobs overseas. We should provide tax credits to help create manufacturing jobs here at home. It's right to protect middle-class income tax cuts, and it's also right to roll back George Bush's unaffordable giveaways to individuals making over $200,000 so we can invest in jobs, health care and education, and restore fiscal responsibility."