Bentsen Skeptical Of GOP Plans To Cut Taxes

TREASURY Secretary Lloyd Bentsen says he has doubts about the Republicans' plans to cut taxes and adds that the stock market is wary of the idea, too.

Outlining administration budget plans in the wake of a Republican election landslide, Mr. Bentsen said President Clinton is open to GOP-backed plans for middle-class tax relief and reducing the capital-gains tax.

But, and aides say this is a big proviso, Bentsen said any tax cuts must not add to the federal deficit.

``What you want to make sure of is that you pay for all these things and you don't cook the books in the process,'' Bentsen told CBS on Sunday.

He challenged Republicans to specify how they would drastically trim federal spending, then put that plan to a vote before approving a balanced-budget amendment. ``Tell us what the nation faces ... and vote on that first,'' he said.

In a dig at the GOP, Bentsen attributed the stock market's recent plunge to uncertainty over what Republicans might do to the federal deficit.

``They want to know, is this reduction in the deficit going to continue? Are we going to start cooking the books down here in order to justify tax cuts?''

He also exposed a split in the Clinton Cabinet, disavowing Labor Secretary Robert Reich's plea to overhaul business tax credits that Mr. Reich calls ``corporate welfare.''

Less than a week after Mr. Clinton called the concept ``an attractive idea,'' Bentsen said it was not an administration proposal.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.