Allies get busy in support of Bush tax plan

WASHINGTON: More than 100 business groups, corporations and associations had a sudden and dramatic change of heart and hopped aboard the newborn Tax Relief Coalition last week, due in no small part to some savvy political maneuvering by President Bush.

WASHINGTON: More than 100 business groups, corporations and associations had a sudden and dramatic change of heart and hopped aboard the newborn Tax Relief Coalition last week, due in no small part to some savvy political maneuvering by President Bush.

WASHINGTON: More than 100 business groups, corporations and associations had a sudden and dramatic change of heart and hopped aboard the newborn Tax Relief Coalition last week, due in no small part to some savvy political maneuvering by President Bush.

The fast-growing coalition, formed only a week earlier by a handful of business advocacy groups, is waging a lobbying and PR campaign to pass the president's dollars 1.6 trillion tax plan as is. But the vast majority of the new member organizations were, up until recently, waging their own campaigns to add business-friendly benefits to the package. Full credit for this conversion of opponents to allies is being given to President Bush.

According to sources, Bush explained to the corporate groups that it was in their best interest to help his administration get the early political clout that would come from the passing of this bill.

Other sources explained that each member group will encourage its constituents through letter-writing and e-mail campaigns to make their views known.

'Our task is to bring the viewpoints of those folks outside the Beltway inside the Beltway in order to let folks on the Hill know how broad and deep the support for this bill is,' one source said.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said Bush's unwillingness to compromise made it clear to the business community that if they lent their support to this tax cut, it would serve them well in the future.

'The business community sees that (Bush) is serious about this and they really want to see him succeed,' he said.

'They all decided to play ball,' said David Keating, executive director of the Club for Growth, which is pushing to increase the tax cut and did not join the coalition. 'They knew they were out of luck on this bill, but they also know there will be another after this one passes. You don't want to be on the list of unfriendly people if you eventually want the administration to back your tax promotion.'



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