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Claim of Clinton Tax Increases Called Full of Errors

Newsday

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.

The Bush-Quayle campaign's list of 128 tax increases during Bill Clinton's 12 years as governor of Arkansas includes errors, double counts and taxes that either were repealed, were never enacted or have expired, state records show.

The Republican list, first mentioned last month by Vice President Dan Quayle and later circulated by the Republican National Committee, is marked by at least a half dozen errors, according to a review of the list and Arkansas legislative records. Figures were also debunked in an article in the New Republic magazine.

In several instances, the list counts taxes that were proposed but never enacted, items that were not tax provisions and at least seven taxes or fees that have expired or were repealed, the records show.

While Quayle has repeatedly referred to 128 "tax increases" by Clinton, the list released by the Bush-Quayle campaign includes 58 tax increases and 70 increases in fees of various sorts.

"This is not something cooked up by Republicans. Everything that is in there comes from the Arkansas legislative records," Gary Koops, Republican National Committee spokesman said this week. "I believe it is accurate put into the context of tax increase and fee increases."

President Bush, in his nomination acceptance speech in Houston, compared the 128 hikes in fees and taxes with the one time Bush said he raised taxes, in the 1990 budget agreement with Congress.

Clinton has repeatedly said the list was inaccurate and misleading.

"What they are talking about as taxes most people would not say were taxes," said Dick Atkinson, a University of Arkansas Law School professor working for the Clinton campaign. "I've tried to be scrupulous with this. I've given them the benefit of the doubt."

By the Clinton campaign's count, there were 49 actual tax increases on the GOP list, seven of which have expired or been repealed. The Clinton accounting includes 10 items that were not on the Republican list.

Atkinson maintains that Clinton has reduced 70 different taxes and fees in his years as governor, which he said under the Republican accounting methods means Clinton has reduced taxes far more often than he has raised them.

He said Bush's 1990 tax increase was 73 different increases, which does not take into account the multiple provisions of the 1989 and 1991 tax bills and hundreds of federal fees and excise tax increases during Bush's tenure.

Koops said of this charge: "That's their point to make. If the Clinton campaign sees that to be appropriate, that is their option."

Bush Comes Up Short on `Family Values' Issues Favored by Voters

The Baltimore Sun

When President Bush and the Republicans talk about "family values," they speak of stay-at-home moms and fully-employed dads, unshakable middle-class morals and a 1950s suburban innocence where such touchy topics as homosexuality stayed out of sight, out of mind and most certainly out of the schools.

But if recent polls are to be trusted, the "family value" issues most important to the radically changed American family of the 1990s are those where Bush seems to come up short when compared to Democratic opponent Bill Clinton -- education policy, health insurance, child care proposals and family leave policies.

The irony hasn't been lost on advocates and policy experts in those fields, such as David Liederman, executive director of the Child Welfare League, a non-partisan advocacy group in Washington.

Liederman said that as he watched the Republican National Convention, "I found it kind of interesting that on the one hand Marilyn Quayle is giving this speech about how she sacrificed and stayed home with her kids and did the right thing, while at the same time this administration has been forcing welfare mothers to go out to work when their child is six months old."

Republican strategists have already noted the problem.

GOP pollster Richard Wirthlin, in assessing an apparent backlash building on the issue, told the Boston Globe last week that speeches promoting family values "have little political worth unless they are rooted in something that is concrete -- policy or the attributes of an administration."

Bush seemed to get off to a strong start in establishing such attributes after his election in 1988, particularly on education. He earned high marks by gathering the nation's governor's to come up with a tough new set of national goals, and he proclaimed himself "the education president."

But not only has he failed to follow up those plans, education advocates say that he has also undercut some of those goals with spending cuts and policy decisions.

Jamie Horwitz, a spokesman for the American Federation of Teachers, said, "On the whole issue of family values, the thing that's galled us about Bush all along is that he has neglected his very first goal on education, which was getting the kid to school ready to learn. You can't talk about education without addressing the problems in the homes these kids are coming from, and he has cut the rug from under all that."

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Sunny Sunday

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Today: Mostly sunny and warm. High 80-85F (27-29C). Southwest wind 10-20 mph (6-13 kph) in the afternoon.

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