Reagan Tells New Jersey Crowd ‘Sharks’ Bite at His Tax Plan : Says Critics Try to Turn Reform Into Increases
President Reagan went on the road again today to defend his tax reform plan against “heavy-browed intellectuals” and “sharks” who he said were trying to turn it into a tax increase.
With two of Congress’s leading tax and budget experts--Senate GOP leader Bob Dole and House Budget Committee Chairman William H. Gray III--suggesting the possible need for a tax increase to reduce the deficit, Reagan told residents of this town of 50,000 near Newark, “I have a veto pen ready for anyone who tries that.”
It was Reagan’s third foray out of Washington in the three weeks since he announced his plan and the eighth state he has visited in an all-out campaign to keep Congress from tampering with it. He visits Maryland on Friday.
Present Plan Worthless
“We all know our current tax system is ready for the ash heap of history,” Reagan told the crowd at Bloomfield’s Municipal Building.
“Our current federal tax system is neither admired nor respected,” Reagan said. “It encourages cheating. It is inherently unjust. It is tottering on an unsound foundation, and it’s time we simply tore it down and built a better one.”
He also took on critics in Eastern states who complain that repeal of deductions for state and local taxes would ruin their tax bases and penalize their citizens at the expense of residents of low-tax states.
“Because our tax plan will encourage economic growth, it will broaden the tax base in every city, town and state in the country,” he said.
“When you’ve got a tax plan that is pro-growth, pro-family, and pro-fairness, then you’ve got a tax plan that’s pro-New Mexico, pro-New York, and pro-New Jersey,” he said.
A High-Tax State
Reagan said his plan would save the typical New Jersey taxpayer more than $600 a year. According to the Administration’s own figures, however, the average New Jersey resident would stand to lose $167 a year in deductions for state taxes.
New Jersey was fourth in a ranking of the amounts states would lose in deductions for local taxes under the Reagan reform plan.
“It’s a tax plan that’s pro-America--it’s America’s tax plan. We’re not favoring one state over another--we’re favoring every taxpayer in America by creating greater fairness, greater justice and lower tax rates,” Reagan declared.
The President, however, said passage would be difficult.
“The sharks are circling our tax plan and trying to take a bite,” he charged. “We happen to have a foolproof shark repellent in the will of the American people but your voice must be heard.”
He related the controversial tax plan to his previous economic successes.
“In the past five years, the American people--not the politicians, not the elites, not the heavy-browed intellectuals--but the American people single-handedly turned our country around.”