Proposed federal tax cuts called too little too late

January 20, 1992|By Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- The Republican White House and Democratic Congress are all but certain to agree this year on some kind of tax cut designed to fight the recession by putting more spending money in the pockets of middle-class Americans.

But no matter whose plan winds up being approved, economists agree that none of the "economic growth" proposals currently under consideration appears big enough to offset the stiff local tax increases.

Faced with gaping deficits and declining revenues, states raised taxes a combined $25 billion last year and experts say they may raise taxes another $10 billion in 1992.

Economists note that the 1990 budget agreement between the White House and Congress raised taxes by about $30 billion. That means that for many Americans this year's federal cuts would simply wash out last year's increases, with little left over to offset higher state and local levies.

"For an awful lot of people out there, the savings they will get from refinancing their mortgages . . . will be a lot more significant than anything that Washington does on the tax side," says Jerry Jordan, chief economist for First Interstate Bank in Los Angeles.

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