WASHINGTON - Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said that he expects the Bush administration's $1.35 trillion tax cut package to become law by Friday, and that the White House will seek more tax cuts.
"It's the first tax bill, not the last," he said Monday in a speech at an Independent Community Bankers of America conference.
The Senate was scheduled to vote Monday night on a tax package that contains individual rate cuts, a phaseout of estate taxes, the elimination of the so-called "marriage penalty," and an expansion of a child tax credit.
The bill also includes incentives for Americans to save more for retirement and for small businesses to establish such accounts for their employees. A similar retirement savings measure cleared the House this month but was not part of President Bush's tax recommendations, on which the congressional bills are based; as a result, industry lobbyists have expressed concern that the retirement savings could be cut during conference negotiations in favor of fully funding the President's priorities.
The industry also has expressed concern that estate taxes will not be fully phased out, because some lawmakers have argued that the repeal would only benefit the wealthy.
Mr. O'Neill told ICBA members not to worry about these things. "There will be estate tax repeal in this bill to be signed by the President on Friday," he said.