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Published in Print: January 27, 1999, as Republicans Target Tax Relief, Push Local Control of Education

Republicans Target Tax Relief, Push Local Control of Education

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Following are excerpts from the Republican response to President Clinton's address, delivered by Reps. Jennifer Dunn of Washington and Steve Largent of Oklahoma:

Ms. Dunn: Our democracy is sound. Our economy is prosperous. The state of our union is strong. And no matter what the outcome of the president's situation, life in America will go on. Our lives will continue to be filled with practical matters, not constitutional ones.

I've been a single mother since my boys were little--6 and 8. My life in those days was taken up with making ends meet, trying to get to two soccer games at the same time on two different fields, worrying about dropping the boys off early at school in order to get to work on time. I know how that knot in the pit of your stomach feels. I've been there.

I'm still a practical person. You heard the president make a lot of promises to a lot of people tonight, but I'd like to talk to you about two very practical Republican priorities ... tax relief and Social Security reform. ...

Next year, there will be a $63 billion budget surplus. Mr. President, give it back.

Last year, a typical mother and father who both work paid nearly 40 percent of their income in taxes--that means 40 cents of every dollar they earned went to the government in federal, state, or local taxes ... that's the highest percentage of income ever paid in taxes by American families.

I don't know about you, but that really bothers me; no wonder so many American families are struggling. ... First, tonight we're proposing a 10 percent, across-the-board cut in tax rates for every working American. That is the down payment on a simpler, fairer, flatter tax system. ...

In all our tax policies, we start from this premise: The people's money belongs to the people, not to the government. ...

Mr. Largent: Republicans ... believe market principles like competition work. At the heart of free enterprise is good education. For far too long, we've allowed Washington to dictate how our children are taught. One of our priorities is to give control of our schools to local communities. We want the most important election affecting your children's education to be the one that decides who sits on the school board, not who you send to Washington. Parents deserve the opportunity to choose the best school, with the best curriculum, best teachers, and safest environment for their children.

I recently met with a room full of teachers in Jenks, Okla. I came out of that meeting convinced more than ever that teachers like these know best how federal education dollars should be spent.

That's why Republicans are leading the effort that will ensure 90 cents of every federal education dollar goes directly to the classroom, empowering parents and teachers, not bureaucrats. ...

Finally, Republicans stand for limited government. Ronald Reagan warned that "a government that is big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take everything you have." And tonight the federal government is still too big and taking more than it should. We will continue our efforts to control Washington's wasteful spending and its insatiable appetite for your money.

Vol. 18, Issue 20, Page 21

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