A model tax bill


WHAT! Another big tax bill taking shape on Capitol Hill? How could they? Why should they? How dare they?

Dare they will -- in 1992. Election-year politics are likely to churn up federal tax-cut proposals of every ilk next year, from schemes to cut capital gains taxes and unfairly put more money in the pockets of rich investors to those that would benefit the less well off but bore a gaping new hole into federal revenues.

If we are going to go through this again -- and it seems likely -- at least it should be done right. And that is what Rep. Thomas Downey, D-N.Y., and his friend Sen. Albert Gore, D-Tenn., have done. They have produced a comprehensive tax-cut bill for poor and middle-class families that would shift more of the tax burden to the wealthiest, who have made extraordinary gains in income over the past decade while their effective tax rate has dropped, and at the same time do away with complex, unfair rules that limit high-income taxpayers' deductions for such items as state and local taxes and charitable contributions.

It doesn't increase the federal deficit, because tax cuts for poor and middle-income families are offset by tax hikes for the wealthy.

This bill could be the model for the tax legislation that Congress will probably tackle next year. Those who would try another approach must adhere to its principle of having those most able to foot the bill pay.

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