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Gingrich Wants Congress to Enact Travel Credit for Taxpayers

Friday, 28 September 2001 12:00 AM

"Congress should act to provide the incentive for Americans to take a trip," Gingrich said in a letter to all members of Congress.

The tax credit would be in place for six months and could stimulate business activity at hotels, tour companies, travel agencies, convention centers and restaurants, the former speaker wrote.

"The measure would provide an urgently needed jump-start to an industry in crisis. By giving the subsidy directly to consumers, the government wouldn't be in a position of picking winners or losers among competing industries," Gingrich said.

Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler denied that the former speaker is pushing the idea on behalf of his airline or hotel clients. He heads a consulting firm called The Gingrich Group.

Gingrich also proposes offsetting 50 percent of personal travel costs on trips that are farther than 100 miles from home. It means that a family of four spending $8,000 on travel could take $4,000 off their taxes.

Tyler said Gingrich was traveling in Arkansas and was unavailable for further comment.

However, Don Holecek, Director of Michigan State University's World Travel & Tourism Tax Policy Center, said the idea may be good for reviving the travel industry but not good for lower-income Americans.

"It's nice to have it demand driven. In other words, you are giving it to the people and they are deciding what choices to make in terms of destinations. I like that approach as opposed to subsidizing a particular region that may have been going downhill anyway," said Holecek.

However, he warned, "This will be of absolutely no benefit to the low incomes that don't pay any taxes. So, it's probably not surprising that this is something Newt would suggest. But on the other hand, those people that are in the low-income category probably aren't doing a lot of traveling anyway. So it probably does target the frequent-traveler market," Holecek said.

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Congress should act to provide the incentive for Americans to take a trip, Gingrich said in a letter to all members of Congress. The tax credit would be in place for six months and could stimulate business activity at hotels, tour companies, travel agencies, convention...
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2001-00-28
Friday, 28 September 2001 12:00 AM
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