The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on March 30, 1998 · Page 6
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 6

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Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Monday, March 30, 1998
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Page 6
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3, 1998 NATION THE SALINA JOURNAL POLITICS I I The Associated Press Gary Bauer, leader of the conservative Family Research Council, is considering running for president in 2000. It's a thought that has Republican Party leaders fearing the worst. A Contender? Conservative activist considers a presidential bid By RON FOURNIER The Associated Press HOUSTON — For Republican leaders driven to a tizzy by Gary Bauer, the news isn't good: He's leaning toward a presidential bid. The Washington-based conservative activist, making his first appearance at a showcase for White House aspirants, told Texas conservatives this weekend that congressional Republicans have a shameful "hang-dog look" and "act like they lost Congress four years ago." He said abortion must be the cornerstone of the party's platform, and challenged the GOP establishment to "stand against the agenda of the gay rights movement." Then, he all but announced his intention to run for president in 2000. The ambitions of this former Reagan administration official had been slightly more limited: He fashioned himself as a conservative kingmaker, the con- science of the party. Six years after becoming an independent entity, Bauer's Family Research Council rivals the Christian Coalition as a voice for grassroots conservative activists. His political action committee raised $3.1 million so far this year, spending $600,000 on behalf of candidates. Bauer may have overreached this spring, buying anti-abortion TV ads in a largely abortion- rights California congressional district. Republican leaders believe moderate voters, turned off by the ads, turned out for the Democratic candidate who won. The Republican establishment fears Bauer's politics will disrupt the fragile GOP coalition of economic and social conservatives in November and 2000. That hasn't stopped Bauer from making plans to push his anti-abortion, low taxes, school prayer, family values agenda in other races. He helped nominate a conservative Republican in an Illinois Senate race this month and hopes to raise $6 million for candidates in 1998. After the November elections, Bauer will decide whether to run for the White House. "I feel I'm headed toward at least setting up a (presidential) exploratory committee," he said. Bauer, 51, said he has discussed campaigning in 2000 with his wife, Carol, and their youngest son, Zachary, 11. "I'm not going to be a hypocrite and talk family values while abandoning my family," he said. His campaign would be a huge longshot, one open to scorn by Democrats and Republicans. He is little known, hardly handsome, and barely the best speaker at the weekend convention headlined by equally drab performers like Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Mo., and Steve Forbes. Still, he would have a formidable base of die-hard religious conservative activists. "I would vote for him. Our country needs people like him," said LaRue Brown of Houston. Yet she wondered "if people are ready for the likes of him." TAXES Mortgage interest deduction may be too popular for reform Income tax deduction estimated to cost nation billions each year By ROB WELLS The Associated Press WASHINGTON — This year, almost a fourth of all individual tax returns will claim the home mortgage interest deduction, a highly lucrative tax benefit that will cost the federal Treasury billions. Because of that cost, and the deduction's huge popularity, it constitutes an extremely expensive but politically volatile obstacle to tax reform. "This is the sacredest of sacred cows," said Stephen Moore, a tax specialist at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. Gregory Jenner, national tax partner at Coopers & Lybrand LLP, observed: "I don't think they can do tax reform without, in some way, shape or form, dealing with that issue." In 1996, 29.4 million of the 116 million individual returns claimed the mortgage interest deduction, which lets most homeowners write off their federal income tax their mortgage interest "This is the sacredest of sacred cows." Stephen Moore tax specialist at the Cato Institute expenses. Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the benefit will cost $232.6 billion between 1998 and 2002. The real estate lobby has campaigned strongly to keep the mortgage interest deduction in place, arguing its removal would create tremendous disruption and uncertainty in housing and other property markets. "Any time you have an organization that thinks it has a vested interest in the status quo, they go ballistic with any type of change, and they're not prepared to deal with it," said Jim Lucier, research director at Americans for Tax Reform. The tax break would be eliminated if flat tax and national sales tax proposals advocated by many Republicans and a few Democrats in Congress were put in place without transition rules. The economic importance of the housing market and the deduction's role in increasing home ownership led' House Minority Leader Dick., Gephardt to retain the benefit iiv his tax-reform plan, a version of the flat tax. Tax-reform proponents gath-. ered Friday in a session sponsored by Citizens for a Sound Economy t to devise ways to address touchy transition issues if the nation., were to go from the current code to a simplified system. J.D. Foster, executive director of the Tax Foundation and a mod'- erator at the forum, acknowledged the mortgage interest deduction is'- the proverbial 500-pound gorilla, but said the issue isn't beyond so'', lution. He argued the deduction should be kept for mortgages in place when tax reform takes effect but denied for loans transacted after that point. "If you just go to a flat tax with, no transition then tax reform is. dead," Foster said. "The gorilla is'> King Kong size." ,', HOMEOWNERS] NO EQUITY REQUIRED! NO APPLICATION or UP FRONT FEES! TAX DEDUCTIBLE INTEREST!' CASH FOR AWfPURPOSEI t 20,000 N for > 23B n permonm/l '30,000" top* month, '40,000" tor '472" per month, 15 yr. fixed rate loan. 11.7% interest rate. 13.5% APR. CALL TO SEE HOW MUCH WC CAN SAVC YOU!!! 1-800-851-7475 National Key Lending Services. Inc. Rates subject to change. 'Consult your tax professional. VIP CLEANERS REOPENS Wednesday, April 1st 7:00 am Nothing Down, 90 Days Deferred Payment, No Payment 'Til June '98 People Pleasers Sofa & Loveseat. Sofa with 2 fully reclining ends & loveseat. Both for $34.53 a month. Lifetime warranty on frame & reclining mechanism. Several sets to choose from. 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