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Published Mar. 6, 2009

Since Barack Obama was elected president, there's one promise that has drawn the uninterrupted attention of many senior citizens, and that is his promise to end income tax for those with an income below $50,000.

We don't have a crystal ball, so we don't know when the administration might try to get this proposal done, but we can say it did not make it into the stimulus bill. Some of Obama's other tax promises did.

The measure also was not part of the budget outline that the Obama administration released on Feb. 26.

Its omission from the budget outline is not a good sign for seniors who want it to pass soon. Such a significant measure would almost certainly have been in the document if Obama intended to enact it for 2010. Several other tax credits and exemptions that Obama promised during the campaign were mentioned specifically in the budget.

We asked the White House what the plans were for this measure but didn't hear back.

It has a significant price tag. During the campaign, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center analyzed Obama's tax proposals and concluded it would cost $35.4 billion from 2009 to 2013, or $69.9 billion from 2009 to 2018.

We should add that the Tax Policy Center didn't care for this idea because it conflicted with the center's mission statement that taxes should be "fair, simple and efficient." In a report on Obama's tax proposals, author and tax analyst Roberton Williams said such a move would exacerbate inequity between older and younger taxpayers with the same income.

Whether the policy is advisable or not, it's not listed explicitly in the budget outline, even though other tax credits and deductions are mentioned prominently. More details on the budget will be released in April, and Congress must approve the final package. But for now, because this measure is not part of the initial budget proposal, we're rating this item Stalled.



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