Saturday, January 19, 2008

Governor Romney Talking Up the Economy in Florida!

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets his supporters at the start of his Florida swing in Jacksonville January 19, 2008, after winning the Nevada primary hours earlier.

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Reuters) - Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney said on Saturday his $233.4 billion U.S. economic stimulus plan would rescue an economy on the "tipping point" of recession.

The former Massachusetts governor's package, details of which were reported on Friday, centers on several permanent tax cuts and would permanently reduce the rate for the lowest income tax bracket to 7.5 percent from 10 percent, retroactive to 2007.

Romney, briefing reporters on a flight to Florida from Nevada, where he won that state's presidential nominating contest, said the income tax cut would put $400 into the pockets of taxpayers and cost $49.8 billion to help stimulate the U.S. economy, which he said "is at a tipping point" of a recession.

The multimillionaire former venture capitalist, who is projecting an image of executive-style leadership, said the stimulus would need to be executed in 30 days to work.

"If we go into recession, the cost to the government is a lot larger than the cost of what I'm talking about," he said.

Romney said he would eliminate Social Security payroll taxes for workers over 65, a move he estimates would save elderly workers $10 billion and their employers $10 billion while encouraging older workers to stay in the workforce.

An elimination of capital gains and dividend taxes on households earning less than $200,000 a year would generate $32 billion in savings for taxpayers, he added.

His plan foresees $141.4 billion in stimulus to corporate America in measures that include permanently reducing the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent over two years and allowing businesses to depreciate the value of new equipment purchases faster.

He said he would push to expand the Federal Housing Administration program to make it easier for U.S. homeowners to refinance their mortgages.

Romney took a swipe at one of his top rivals for the Republican nomination, Arizona Sen. John McCain, for suggesting controlling spending should be the country's top priority.

"Senator John McCain has said he does not see tax cuts as essential for stimulating an economy -- that's where he and I and most other Republicans separate," Romney said. "This is not a time to be suggesting tax cuts equal government spending and we shouldn't do them."

President George W. Bush on Friday called on Congress to enact a package of temporary tax cuts and other measures estimated to cost up to $150 billion.

Romney said his plan differed from Bush's because it combined short-term stimulus with longer-term efforts to keep the economy growing through permanent tax relief.

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