Giuliani: Democratic President Will Raise Taxes, Ravage Economy

A Democratic president would raise taxes and ravage the economy, GOP hopeful candidate Rudy Giuliani said Saturday.

The former New York City mayor said he would lower taxes, make permanent President Bush's tax cuts and eliminate inheritance taxes.

"The Democrats believe in government when they have a choice. Republicans believe in people when we have a choice. ... The Republican Party is the party of the people. The Democratic Party is the party of the government," Giuliani said at a town hall meeting. He appeared with former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, who is a campaign adviser, and former Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci.

In his speech, Giuliani paid little attention to his GOP rivals while taking on the Democratic candidates.

"If you've never run anything, you sometimes have unrealistic ideas," he said, noting none of the leading Democratic contenders has served as an executive. "This is not a place for on-the-job training."

Giuliani criticized Democrats who want to repeal Bush's cuts. "When it's working, let's change it. That's a brilliant philosophy. It sounds a little bit like Iraq," Giuliani said to laughter.

The cornerstone of his campaign has been tax cuts, greater freedom over spending and less government. He said people would face $3 trillion in tax increase over the next decade unless Bush's tax cuts are made permanent.

Giuliani also advocated a permanent child tax credit and lower marginal tax rates. He wants to tie marginal tax rates to the current levels and perhaps cut the rates further. He favors linking the alternative minimum tax to the rate of inflation, which Giuliani said would stop tax increases on 30 million people by 2010.

This tax originally was designed to make sure that the wealthiest could not use tax breaks or deductions to eliminate their entire tax liability. It is not adjusted for inflation.

Inflation and recent tax cuts push more and more taxpayers into the grasp of the minimum tax each year, depriving about 4 million tax filers from taking full advantage of various deductions and tax credits.

Giuliani told his audience that he is the best option to help them have more control over their own money. As part of his standard stump speech, Giuliani routinely reminds voters he cut taxes 23 times.

"New York City's taxes were way too high," Giuliani said. "We were taxing people out of the city. We were making the choice for them."

While Giuliani cut taxes 23 times, his record has come into question.

Giuliani initiated only 15 cuts and opposed one of the largest, accepting it only after a five-month negotiation with the city council. Seven cuts started at the state level. One was initiated by the council.