Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the President's Opposition to a Federal Tax Increase

August 12, 1984

Over the past several days I have been asked a number of questions concerning the President's position on taxes. Those questions have been submitted to the President, and his answers are as follows:

Q. Mr. President, you say you have no plans to raise taxes, but do you absolutely rule out the possibility of any tax increase to reduce the deficit?

A. A President of the United States should never say never, but a tax increase has always been for me a last resort. I will first want to do everything I can to reduce the deficit by keeping our economy growing and reducing wasteful Federal spending.

Q. So, raising taxes remains an option or a possibility?

A. I have no plans to raise taxes. I have throughout my political life been opposed to raising taxes. I do not want to see this wonderful economic expansion of ours jeopardized by tax increases. I would first want to know that government had been reduced to its barest minimum.

Q. Mr. President, are you ruling out other tax increases in addition to personal income tax increases?

A. I will do everything I can to avoid raising taxes on the American people. I will try to reduce the deficit by continuing strong economic growth and reducing wasteful Federal spending.

Q. Mr. President, will you rule out any tax increase in 1985?

A. I have no plans for a tax increase in 1985 or beyond. And as I said in my press conference, the only time I would consider a tax increase in order to reduce the deficit would be if I felt we had reduced wasteful government spending to the absolute minimum.

Q. Mr. President, on August 6 the Vice President was asked if you were keeping your options open on taxes except for an increase in the personal income tax. He said, ``Any President would keep his options open. Conditions can dramatically change one way or the other.'' Do you agree with that statement?

A. Yes, but that does not in any way lessen my strong opposition to increasing taxes. I would seek to reduce the deficit by continuing strong economic growth and reducing wasteful spending and doing everything I could to avoid raising taxes.