March 28,2000

Roth Unveils Bill Giving Millions of Families Tax Relief

Legislation Would Virtually Eliminate Marriage Penalty for Millions of Married Couples; Give Significant Relief to Others

WASHINGTON -- Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) today unveiled a bill that would grant millions of families tax relief by significantly reducing the marriage penalty. The legislation would provide $240 billion in tax relief over the next ten years by:

1. Eliminating the marriage penalty in the standard deduction;

2. Providing broad-based marriage tax penalty relief by widening the 15% tax bracket;

3. Allowing more low income married couples to qualify for the Earned Income Credit;

4. Preserving the family tax credits from the bite of the Alternative Minimum Tax ("AMT") which hits married couples with children the hardest.

At a press conference to unveil the bill Tuesday, Chairman Roth made the following comments:

"Many couples have gone to the altar after listening to the adage that two can live as cheaply as one. However when tax time comes, millions of married couples find this axiom does not hold true. The so-called "marriage tax penalty" hits about half of our country's married couples, sending them into a higher tax bracket than if they were single. This is patently unfair and anti-family. When a couple decides to exchange wedding vows, they shouldn't also have to take a vow of poverty. A tax form should not stand in the way of Cupid's bow.

"Righting this wrong is why we are here today.

"My Chairman's mark, which will be before the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, aims to give substantial tax relief to American families. Our bill helps all married couples -- including those where one spouse works maintaining the home and raising the children.

"First, it eliminates the marriage penalty built into the standard deduction. This change will help the 25 million couples who use the standard deduction.

"Second, my proposal widens the 15% income tax bracket, effectively eliminating the marriage penalty for couples with incomes up to $52,500, and giving substantial relief to those earning more than $52,500. This change will benefit over 21 million couples.

"Third, the Chairman's mark allow more low income married couples to qualify for the Earned Income Credit, and increases the benefit for many who already qualify. This will help 1 million low income, hard working couples.

"And finally, the Chairman's mark ensures that families can always take the non-refundable family tax credits, such as the $500 child tax credit or the Hope Scholarship education credit, for which they qualify. This will help millions of families who are counting on receiving the benefits of these credits.

"Families today have many financial challenges -- saving for college, saving for retirement, paying for health care and now even filling the gas tank. Life isn't getting any cheaper for millions of American families. It's only fair to let families keep more of what they earn. I hope that President Clinton will work with us on this important legislation."