Canton Repository

May 29, 2003

Stark residents join Bush for tax-cut signing

Copley Washington correspondent

WASHINGTON — Several Stark County supporters of the $330 billion tax cut Congress approved last week were at the White House on Wednesday to watch President Bush sign the legislation into law.

At least 10 people from the area were at the White House ceremony.

“I’m impressed,” said Patricia Williams, a single mother from Canton, after Bush signed the bill during a ceremony in the East Room. “I think it’s going to be good for the economy — at least I’m hoping it will.”

Bush had used Williams, an employee of the Canton-based Timken Co., as an example of someone who would benefit from a tax cut when he pushed the plan in a speech at Timken Research in North Canton on April 24.

Williams traveled to Washington with Timken Co. Chairman W.R. “Tim” Timken Jr. aboard the company jet. Timken, a financial contributor to Bush, also brought Williams’ two daughters and Linda Parker of Osnaburg Township, another Timken employee who met the president last month.

In a 22-minute speech that preceded the bill signing, Bush said the tax cut will give Americans more to spend, save and invest.

“We have taken aggressive action to strengthen the foundation of our economy so that every American who wants to work will be able to find a job,” he said.

Families with children will receive an average tax cut of $1,549 a year, he said. Along with accelerating reductions in income tax rates, the plan raises the child tax credit to $1,000 and reduces taxes on dividends to a maximum of 15 percent. It provides $20 billion in aid to the states.

Bush said 25 million eligible families will begin receiving checks of up to $400 per child in July. He also said employers will start withholding less money from some paychecks starting next month.

Canton was one of the first stops last month when Bush traveled to key states to pressure reluctant senators to support the plan.

The president met with small groups of residents in each location to promote his plan and seek their input. All the participants in those roundtables, including nine in Canton, received invitations to the signing.

“I appreciate members of the roundtables we had all around America,” Bush said as he looked toward the side of the room where Timken, Parker and Williams were sitting.

“I see a lot of familiar faces from people that allowed me to come and listen to their stories, and then translate those stories into the public arena so that our Congress people and citizens knew that behind every number there was a story to be told.”

Williams said the tax cut will give her about $1,140 a year, which will help with college expenses for her daughters.

“Tuition has gone up, parents are struggling more,” said her daughter Sheree, who graduates from Ohio State University in June. She said she was “honored and very humbled” to be at the White House.

Williams’ daughter Danielle, who will be a senior at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson next year, said the tax cut will benefit her “because my mom can now help to pay for my college.”

Parker, whose husband Charles is a farmer, said her family will benefit from increased write-offs for equipment purchases and a higher tax credit for children.

Timken supports the tax cut, although he wishes it had been bigger.

“If it grows ... in future years, so much the better,” he said. “What we all know as citizens is, the more money government has, the more it will spend. We’d like to see a little more of that into the people’s hands.”

As they waited to be cleared into the White House before the ceremony, the group from Canton appeared still in awe from their meeting with Bush last month.

Williams has felt like a celebrity ever since Bush kissed her during the speech, she said.

“I do walk almost anywhere and people recognize me as kissing the president,” she said.

Bryan Rice of North Canton, another roundtable participant, has had the same feeling since the president delivered a pitch for his business, Rice’s Nursery, he said.

“A number of folks have come in and said that they’ve heard it and they’re in there buying plants,” he said.