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Chamber Chief Predicts Taxes Will Be Part of Deficit Agreement

The president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce acknowledged that any deficit-reduction deal probably will include tax increases, and proposed that everyone except those living in poverty pay taxes.

“If there is a real deal that addressed the questions of jobs, of growth and of expenditures, there will be some taxes in there,” Chamber President Thomas Donahue said today in an interview to be broadcast April 22 on CSPAN’s “Newsmakers.”

Higher taxes won’t necessarily mean an increase in the tax rate, though some deductions and credits may be eliminated during negotiations, Donohue said.

The U.S. House passed a budget last month that reduced the deficit through spending cuts and lower taxes for high earners. The proposal by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin eliminated $5 trillion in the next decade from programs including food stamps, Pell educational grants and Medicaid. The Chamber, the nation’s largest business group, says on its website that it opposed higher taxes.

Donohue proposed that all Americans above the poverty line, or $23,050 for a family of four, pay some income tax.

“I don’t care if it is $100, $200 or $500, I want them to be able to be at risk that somebody could raise it,” Donohue said. “But if half of the people in the country have no risk of anybody raising their income tax, what do they care about what Congress does?”

To contact the reporters on this story: William McQuillen in Washington at bmcquillen@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net

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