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Tax charge is questioned


WASHINGTON -- President Bush's charge this week that Democrat Bill Clinton is proposing "the largest tax increase in American history" is open to question.

Mr. Clinton has proposed collecting $150 billion in extra taxes over a four-year period, or an annual average of $37.5 billion.

According to the independent Tax Foundation, the largest tax increase was the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, signed by President Ronald Reagan.

It raised a net $195.3 billion in new taxes over five years, an annual average of $39.06 billion a year.

Mr. Bush, who campaigned in 1988 on a platform of "no new taxes," signed into law the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, which included a $164 billion tax increase over five years, an annual average of $33 billion.

If tax cuts are deducted from the 1990 increases, it brings the net increase figure down to $137 billion over five years, or an annual average of $27.4 billion.

According to Senate Budget Committee figures, Mr. Clinton's plan includes offsetting tax cuts estimated at $58 billion, leaving a net increase of $92 billion, or an annual average of $23 billion.

This would leave Mr. Clinton lagging both Mr. Reagan and Mr. Bush in the historic tax-increase stakes.

Mr. Bush made the accusation during a campaign stop Thursday in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Addressing a group of conservative legislators, the president claimed that Mr. Clinton would "pull a fast one on the American people" if elected.

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