Gore set to unveil revised budget plan

Wednesday, September 6th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Fueling the debate over use of the nation's budget surpluses, Vice President Al Gore said Tuesday that he has tinkered with his fiscal proposals and plans to offer a new comprehensive budget plan "to show how all the pieces fit together."

He said the keystone of his plan remains $500 billion in targeted tax relief over 10 years, aimed at middle-class families.

Republican George W. Bush's $1.3 trillion proposal for across-the-board income tax cuts is much too expensive, Mr. Gore said, and would "completely overwhelm the surplus."

Mr. Gore gave a preview of the economic speech, which he will deliver Wednesday in Cleveland, during a round-table discussion on the "new economy" at Resources Marketing Inc., a Web design firm in downtown Columbus.

His senior adviser, Ron Klain, said the new proposal was based on a "fiscal discipline" that would ensure balanced federal budgets as well as a payoff of the national debt by 2012.

In addition, a surplus reserve fund of as much as $300 billion would be established to guard against any decline in projected revenues over the next decade.

Flying from Columbus to Cleveland aboard Air Force Two, Mr. Gore briefly discussed his goal of making the nation debt-free by 2012. "In this day and time, when productivity gains are at historic highs, we've got a lot better uses for American capital than tying it up in sterile government paper," he said.

The vice president planned to announce 10 new fiscal goals for the nation and offer a few other "new ideas," Mr. Klain said. But most of the plan already has been discussed by the vice president at length on the campaign trail.

The Gore fiscal blueprint – to be published as a book titled Prosperity for America's Families – is drawn from congressional and White House projections of federal budget surpluses over the next decade of more than $4 trillion, Mr. Klain said.

Among the other goals, in addition to eliminating the nation's debt, are Mr. Gore's well-known desire to protect Social Security and Medicare surpluses and a plan to double the number of families who have savings of more than $50,000.

While Mr. Gore touts his economic plan this week, the Democratic National Committee is stepping up its ad campaign.

In nine key states, the Democrats have begun airing a new 30-second television spot criticizing the Texas governor's record on health care. In Austin, the Bush campaign dismissed the spot as another distortion of the governor's record.

"If Vice President Gore wants to complain about health care in Texas, then he ought to be complaining about the situation in America under his watch, because it's worse," said Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett. "Texas is doing a better job than the nation as a whole does when it comes to providing health and dental care to children enrolled in Medicaid."

At the forum Tuesday, Mr. Gore led a discussion of the booming high-tech industry, contrasting it with some of the nation's oldest industries.

"Your role as a CEO is probably very different from the role of Henry Ford in the original Ford Motor Co.? You probably take responsibility for making sure everybody knows the vision that's driving the company. Is that right?" Mr. Gore asked Nancy Kramer, the founder and chief executive officer of Resource Marketing.

"That's true, yes," Ms. Kramer said.

"And you set goals that people all need to be aware of, right?" Mr. Gore asked.

"That's correct," Ms. Kramer responded.

"And you try to share a set of common values that everybody in the company can use as the basis for decision-making, right?" Mr. Gore concluded.

"Yes, that is absolutely true," Ms. Kramer said. "It's very important."