GOP proposal quadruples relief offered by President

WASHINGTON- On February 2, 2000 the Committee on Ways and Means in the House of Representatives will act on a Republican-sponsored bill that aims to eliminate the "marriage penalty" paid by some 25 million two-income couples. The marriage penalty hits middle class families the hardest, most often occurring when the higher-earning spouse makes between $20,000 and $75,000.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, issued the following statement regarding the Republican plan to eliminate the "marriage penalty" tax:

"In last week\’s State of the Union Address, President Clinton offered a 10-year, $45 billion proposal to fix the marriage penalty. House Republicans are poised to offer a larger, more aggressive plan, in the neighborhood of $180 billion over 10 years.

"According to the Congressional Budget Office, the average yearly marriage penalty for a married working couple is $1,400. The plan offered by House Republicans would end this unfair penalty, helping families, particularly those in the middle class.

"The GOP plan would adjust the lowest 15 percent income tax bracket upward for married couples. This would change the amount married couples pay their lowest income tax on from $43,850 to $52,500. This helps couples regardless of whether they itemize deductions and take the standard deduction.

"In addition, the House GOP plan would increase the standard income tax deduction of married couples to twice that for single tax filers. Moreover, the GOP bill would increase the income cutoff for lower-income couples who claim the earned income tax credit by $2,000."