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Congress is fiddling while 202,000 Long Island taxpayers, right in the crosshairs of the alternative minimum tax, squirm. They're among the 21 million taxpayers across the nation who'll be socked with an average of $2,000 in additional federal income taxes this year, unless Congress does something to waylay the runaway AMT.
Lawmakers aren't likely to let that happen. They can't want to shock that many voters with higher taxes in an election year. The problem tying Congress in knots is who's going to cover the $50 billion it will cost to blunt the AMT for another year.
Republicans, incredibly, want to borrow the money and leave our children on the hook to pay it back. Democrats think a few thousand wealthy private equity and hedge fund managers should pick up the tab. They've voted to close tax loopholes that have unjustifiably lowered those high earners' taxes. Republicans should give our kids a break.
President George W. Bush said he will veto any AMT fix that raises anybody's taxes. This from a president who has presided over record deficits and already added $3 trillion to the national debt. Washington needs to get real, pass an AMT fix and pay for it. It's the responsible thing to do.
- Newsday editorial Dec. 17, 2007