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WORDS FROM WASHINGTON

Democrats' federal budget raises our taxes

This month the House of Representatives narrowly approved a federal budget blueprint by a vote of 212 to 207. I opposed this budget plan because it dramatically increases the size of the federal government, increases spending by billions and pays for it with the largest tax hike in American history.

The Democrat budget raises taxes by a staggering two-thirds of a trillion dollars over the next five years. Some may claim that this budget will protect middle income families - but the numbers tell a different story. Consider that under the plan, the average taxpayer in the State of Washington will pay an additional $3,065 to the federal government each year.

The House-passed budget means income tax hikes for every American, a return of the death tax, and a 50 percent cut in the child tax credit. It also means a return of the marriage tax penalty - forcing about 48 million couples to pay more each year. It doesn't extend the state sales tax deduction for Washingtonians and it allows the alternative minimum tax to threaten more middle income families.

At a time when we should be encouraging investment in our economy in order to create jobs, the last thing Congress should do is take more money out of the pockets of individuals and businesses by raising taxes.

I supported an alternative to the Democrat budget that is reflective of my commitment to shrink the government, reduce spending, and allow workers, families and small businesses to keep more of their own money to save, invest and spend as they see fit.

We must prioritize and reform federal spending to achieve savings without raising taxes. The responsible way to protect our economy is to make the tax relief of 2001 and 2003 permanent, and to balance the budget by funding the government's most essential responsibilities while eliminating frivolous federal programs.

The entitlement programs that currently make up over half of the federal budget must also be addressed. These programs grow automatically each year without congressional action - or even review - and cannot continue to go unchecked.

Earlier this year Democrats and Republicans worked together to achieve an economic growth package - while the Democrat budget has already been approved by the House, it is my hope that we can return to that bipartisan spirit as we continue to work on the bills that will actually fund the federal government next year.

Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) represents Central Washington's Fourth Congressional District.

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