- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2001

Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans said yesterday that he wants a capital gains-tax cut to be included in an overall stimulus package to get the economy growing again.

Mr. Evans also said that the White House will send its economic stimulus plan to Congress in a week or two, that the plan will have bipartisan support in Congress and that it could be around 1 percent of the gross domestic product, or about $100 billion, a figure suggested in recent testimony by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan.

Mr. Evans, who is one of President Bush's closest advisers, said the administration was considering a broad list of emergency tax-cut proposals, from speeding up the 10-year, tax-rate-reduction plan enacted earlier this year to cutting the Social Security payroll tax.

"I wouldn't want to take any option or tax cut off the table," he said in an interview with The Washington Times.

"I would have a long list and I would trade something for something else. Capital gains-tax cuts would be on my list of things that I would want to have," he said.

Mr. Evans' favorable remarks about cutting the 20 percent capital gains tax rate were surprising, not only because of his well-known reticence about getting out in front of administration policy before it has been settled, but also because the administration has long resisted the idea of cutting the capital gains tax.

Mr. Bush and his advisers considered and then rejected including capital gains relief in his 10-year tax-cut plan, which went into effect this summer, and White House advisers have been cool to the idea of including it in the stimulus package because of stiff opposition from Democratic leaders.

But top congressional Republicans, including House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, have made a capital gains cut a major priority in this session and have been urging the administration to include it in the plan it will submit to Congress.

Mr. Evans also said that he expects the economy to "get out of this slowdown sooner rather than later, probably by the first of the year," because of the pump-priming effect of the $55 billion that Congress has appropriated thus far, the new tax cuts passed this year, and the stimulus bill that will soon be proposed "to get more money into the hands of the American people and the private sector."

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