President Bush did not mention tax reform in his State of the Union Address, generally talking only about the importance of keeping the country competitive in the world marketplace by ensuring the economy continues to grow.

"Our economy grows when Americans have more of their own money to spend, save and invest," Bush said in the speech. He said that his tax cuts have put an estimated $880 billion in the hands of American workers, investors, small businesses and families and pointed to the economy of the past four years as proof of his strategy.

Bush called for Congress to make his cuts, most of which expire in the coming years, permanent. He also requested the creation of a permanent research and development tax credit aimed at encouraging private-sector initiatives in technology.

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine delivered the Democratic response, and while he didn't specifically respond to any of Bush's tax points, he did call attention to the growing national debt.Separately, the House held the first Congressional hearings on the recommendations made in November by the President's Advisory Panel on Tax Reform. The Feb. 1 hearing was held before the joint subcommittees on tax, finance and exports, and rural enterprises, agriculture and technology, of the House's Small Business Committee.

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