(The following is an adbridged statement by President Bush at the signing ceremony for this tax cut.)
Some months ago, in my speech to the Joint Session of Congress, I had the honor of introducing Steven Ramos to the nation. Steven is the network administrator for a school district. His wife, Josefina, teaches at a charter school. They have a little girl named Lianna. And they're trying to save for Lianna's college education.
High taxes made saving difficult. Last year, they paid nearly $8,000 in federal income taxes. Well, today, we're beginning to make life for the Ramos' a lot easier. Today, we start to return some of the Ramos' money and not only their money, but the money of everybody who paid taxes in the United States of America.
Across the board tax relief does not happen often in Washington, D.C. In fact, since World War II, it has happened only twice: President Ken-nedy's tax cut in the '60s and President Reagan's tax cuts in the 1980s. And now it's happening for the third time, and it's about time.
Tax relief is a great achievement for the American people. Tax relief is the first achievement produced by the new tone in Washington, and it was produced in record time. Tax relief is an achievement for families struggling to enter the middle class. For hard working lower income families, we have cut the bottom rate of federal income tax from 15 percent to 10 percent. We doubled the per-child tax credit to $1,000, and made it refundable.
Tax relief is compassionate and it is now on the way.
Tax relief is an achievement for middle class families squeezed by high energy prices and credit card debt. Most families can look forward to a $600 tax rebate, before they have to pay the September back-to-school bills. And in the years ahead, taxpayers can look forward to steadily declining income tax rates.
Tax relief is an achievement for families that want the government tax policy to be fair and not penalize them for making good choices, good choices such as marriage and raising a family. So we cut the marriage penalty.
Tax relief makes the code more fair for small businesses and farmers and individuals by eliminating the death tax. Over the long haul, tax relief will encourage work and innovation. It will allow American workers to save more on their pension plan or individual retirement accounts. Tax relief expands individual freedom. The money we return, or don't take in the first place, can be saved for a child's education, spent on family needs, invested in a home or in a business or a mutual fund or used to reduce personal debt.
The message we send today, it's up to the American people; it's the American people's choice. We recognize loud and clear the surplus is not the government's money. The surplus is the people's money and we ought to trust them with their own money.
This tax relief plan is principled. We cut taxes for every income taxpayer. We target nobody in, we target nobody out. And tax relief is now on the way.
Today is a great day for America. It is the first major achievement of a new era, an era of steady cooperation. And more achievements are ahead. I thank the members of Congress in both parties who made today possible. Together, we will lead our country to new progress and new possibilities. It is now my honor to sign the first broad tax relief in a generation.