Parties at odds over Obama greenhouse tax plan

Filed under: Daily News |

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama’s call to raise taxes on high earners and greenhouse gas polluters met fierce opposition Tuesday from congressional Republicans and also a few Democrats.

“I would never want to adversely affect anything that is charitable or good,” Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said of Obama’s call to limit high-income taxpayers’ itemized deductions for charitable donations and mortgage interest.

Republicans said the president’s plan to charge fees to industries that spew greenhouse gases amounts to a stealthy tax increase for all Americans that will far exceed the new $400 annual tax cut for workers that he wants to extend beyond 2010.

“The president’s budget increases taxes on every American, and does so during a recession,” said Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner argued that the Obama proposal would reduce taxes for most Americans. Any increases, he said, wouldn’t occur until 2011, when the economy is “safely into recovery.”

Geithner said Obama’s plan would cut income taxes for 95 percent of families and 97 percent of small businesses. Raising taxes on couples that make more than $250,000 would make the tax system more equitable, restoring the balance that existed before a series of tax cuts were enacted under former President George W. Bush, he said.