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Columbus Dispatch - "Congressional Candidates Pitch Tax Relief Plans"

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Location: Columbus, OH

Columbus Dispatch - "Congressional Candidates Pitch Tax Relief Plans"

Congressional rivals Mary Jo Kilroy and Steve Stivers both said yesterday that the faltering economy points to a need for tax cuts and credits, but their approaches diverged.

Kilroy, the Democratic candidate in the 15th Congressional District, said she would eliminate President Bush's tax benefits for households earning $1 million or more and for oil companies. She would apply the extra revenue toward tax credits or deductions for families financing their children's college tuition, she said.

Kilroy spoke at the Hilltop-area home of Michelle Sutton, a neighborhood activist and Kilroy supporter, in what the Kilroy campaign billed as a "kitchen table" event to highlight the need for middle-class tax relief.

"I think it's time we have a tax policy that benefits the working people of this community and the middle class that's really the backbone of the economy," Kilroy said.

Stivers, the Republican candidate, said in an interview later that he would not repeal any tax cuts but would work to eliminate the estate tax.

"To raise the rate on capital gains right now could cause a big problem in the economy," Stivers said. "I believe it's morally wrong to raise taxes when the economy is struggling."

Stivers said that raising taxes on wealthy families would only encourage them to "hire accountants and attorneys and plan their way to avoid taxation."

Stivers noted that he supported the bipartisan effort in 2007 to freeze tuition at state colleges in Ohio for two years.

On Sunday night, independent candidate Don Elijah Eckhart also released his tax plan. He said he would end hundreds of tax breaks and create a simpler tax system that would reduce the overall tax burden.

"It is time for a total tax-system overhaul with the result of lower tax rates," Eckhart wrote in a statement.

The 15th Congressional District includes the western half of Franklin County and all of Madison and Union counties.

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