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Petitions Urge Tougher Corporate Taxes

September 23, 1985

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Petitions bearing the signatures of 750,000 people urging tougher taxes on U.S. corporations were presented Monday to Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, D-Ill., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Rostenkowski, accepting the petitions at a labor convention, said the documents counter ″press reports ... that the public doesn’t give a damn about tax reform.″

″The petitions ... prove that the American people do listen ... do care,″ Rostenkowski said. ″I am as concerned about the erosion of the corporate tax as much as anybody who signed one of these petitions.″

The petitions, collected over the past five months by a coalition of labor unions, religious and social organizations, were presented at the convention of the public employee division of the AFL-CIO.

The papers were hauled into the convention hall in 20 little red wagons pulled by 20 children.

Citizens for Tax Justice, a labor-supported research group, was a major force in collecting the signatures, which called on Congress to see that ″our largest and most profitable corporations ... pay their fair share″ of taxes.

The petition drive was aided by a study by Citizens for Tax Justice, which found that 50 large, profitable corporations have legally paid no federal income tax since President Reagan took office in 1981.

Rostenkowski’s committee will meet privately Thursday to begin writing its version of Reagan’s tax-overhaul plan. The chairman said his goal will be a new tax system that is a significant improvement over present law.

But Rostenkowski cautioned that the new system would not be perfect. ″Ultimately we will have to settle for a little less than perfection″ because of so many competing demands, he said.

He said there is a reasonable certainty his committee will be able to agree on a bill. However, congressional leaders of both parties have said there is little way Congress can complete action on such a big bill this year.

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