Casey helps push tax-cut measure

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WASHINGTON -- Pennsylvania's Sen. Bob Casey yesterday joined fellow freshmen Democrats in proposing a broad package of tax benefits for middle-class families, a principal pledge of many new senators on the campaign trail last year.

The legislation would double the child tax credit to $2,000 for the first year of a child's life, enhance tax credits on child-care expenses for families earning up to $75,000 a year, and shield families from the Alternative Minimum Tax through 2008. It would also consolidate some higher-education tax credits and extend credits for families that care for elderly parents who live on their own.

"This legislation is about peace of mind for people who have to struggle every day," said Mr. Casey.

The bill's lead sponsor, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the changes could be paid for by raising taxes on families that earn more than $400,000 a year, repealing tax cuts for oil companies and tightening auditing of wealthy taxpayers.

Mr. Schumer, a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, said the party would push heavily for these changes, and he predicted some Republican support. He invited the freshmen Democrats, including Mr. Casey, to join him as sponsors of the bill, claiming that their call to help the middle class earned the party its one-seat Senate majority.

"They were victorious in November because each of them offered a new direction for middle-class families," Mr. Schumer said.

Darrell Sapp, Post-Gazette
Sen. Bob Casey
Click photo for larger image.

Jerome L. Sherman can be reached at jsherman@post-gazette.com or 1-202-488-3479.


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