Wins taxpayer group\’s "Villain of Week" award 

WASHINGTON – Forty-six days have passed since tax relief was made law. But some politicians already have their eyes on raising taxes back to higher levels.

House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) said on Saturday that he was "glad" to have raised taxes in 1993, because raising taxes was "the right thing to do," reports the Des Moines Register(The article can be viewed at: Gephardt\’s statement was reported while he was campaigning in Iowa for Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Ia.). His statement earned him the dubious "Taxpayer Villain of the Week" award by Americans for Tax Reform, a pro-taxpayer advocacy group.

The Minority Leader\’s statement suggests that tax increases will be a contentious issue between Congress and the White House if Democrats prevail in the upcoming 2002 elections. Both Gephardt and Boswell voted against President Bush\’s tax relief plan, and both have had abysmal records on tax issues throughout their congressional careers.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said it was "predictable" that Gephardt would "seek to fatten government coffers at the expense of taxpayers the first chance he had."

Gephardt was not the first to call for a tax increase in the 107th Congress, however. Democratic Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina sought to block the distribution of tax rebate checks earlier this month. His efforts were joined by Democratic Senator and former Vice Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. The Hollings-Lieberman action failed.

"Both Gephardt and Boswell have consistently voted against taxpayers," said Norquist. "Both voted against the only significant tax relief bill in a generation, while Hollings and Lieberman voted to block the distribution of rebate checks. Why is it a surprise that as soon as taxes have been cut, Democrats clamor to raise them back? Gephardt and company have shown their true colors: Democrats are the party of Big Government, with little respect for hard-working Americans."