Washington (Feb. 3, 2003) -- As part of his $2.4 trillion budget for 2005, President George W. Bush proposed making the current tax cuts permanent and offered up a proposal to expand and simplify tax-free savings accounts.

The administration maintained that if the current tax cuts, which are set to expire in 2010, were made permanent, they would stimulate growth and reduce the budget deficit by half within five years.

However, critics, who point to the mounting budget shortfall — projected at $521 billion this year — contend that if enacted, permanent tax cuts would only worsen the swelling debt load.

In the budget, which was submitted to Congress yesterday, the president also repeated his calls to expand and simplify tax-preferred retirement and savings accounts, and also called for extending last year's increase in the child tax credit. In addition, he proposed an array of new tax breaks designed to make health insurance more affordable.

-- WebCPA staff

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