President Reagan, sounding like a cheerleader, urged a university audience today to support his tax reform program and “win one for America.”
At a speech in the coliseum home of North Carolina State University’s 1983-84 national basketball champions, Reagan led the students and faculty in a chorus of cheers when he asked:
“Do we want a tax system that’s fairer and simpler with lower tax rates for most Americans?
“Do we want a decade of prosperity and 10 million new jobs before 1990?
“Do we want record growth, record business starts and an entrepreneurial renaissance of invention and productivity that will keep America No. 1 in world competition?”
“Do we want America’s tax plan--a fair share tax plan for all?”
Great Moment Sought
Although resistance to quick action is coming from Republican senators more concerned with farm policy, deficit-cutting and trade legislation, Reagan said, “I believe this can be one of those great moments when we stop being Democrats and Republicans and are just Americans.”
But Reagan drew scant support for his tax plan from conservative Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), who flew here with the President on Air Force One.
“With all due respect to my President,” Helms told reporters, “I have not heard one person in North Carolina mention it except in a deprecating way.”
Helms sat next to Reagan as he spoke in sweltering Reynolds Coliseum, which has no air conditioning. Portable Air Force cooling units brought in overnight failed to make the building more comfortable.
Shouts of Approval
Reagan doffed his tan jacket to cheers of the crowd of about 15,000 in the arena and won yells of approval when he compared his tax reform campaign to the underdog status of the North Carolina basketball team two years ago.
“What I want to do is bring a little more of that Wolfpack spirit to Washington this fall--and win one for America.”
The President has set Christmas as the date a tax reform bill should be on his desk, but House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill Jr. is not sure Congress will make that deadline.
O’Neill told reporters Wednesday that the House will try to pass a tax bill but, “We’re going to have a hard time.” He said he found “very little sentiment for the tax reform bill, very little” during the recent congressional recess.
Reagan acknowledged that he faced an uphill fight over tax reform.
But he renewed his criticism of the present system, saying: “The way our tax system is structured, the harder you work and the more you earn, the less you get to keep.