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Alternative Minimum Tax Bill in the House Offers Another Large Dose of Budget Gimmickry

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On May 5, the House of Representatives is expected to consider legislation that would extend Alternative Minimum Tax relief for one year, through 2005. The problem of the AMT and its spread to an increasing number of taxpayers is becoming more widely understood. Less well understood is how the Administration and Congressional leaders have consistently used the AMT as a major budget gimmick to mask the true cost of tax-cut proposals and to sharply understate the likely size of future deficits. The House bill, by calling for only a one-year extension of AMT relief, continues this rather cynical approach to AMT relief.