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Bush rules out tax hike to fund recovery
Updated: 2005-09-17 10:55

Bush, who declined to try to put a price tag on the costs, expressed no worry.

"You bet it's going to cost money. But I'm confident we can handle it and I'm confident we can handle our other priorities," he said during a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "It's going to cost whatever it costs."

Bush said it's important that government quickly restore the region to give people hope, and repeated his statement from Thursday night's speech from the heart of the New Orleans' French Quarter that the federal government would cover most of the cost of rebuilding schools, bridges and other infrastructure. Asked who would pay for the work and how it would impact the nation's rising debt, Bush said "the key question is to make sure that the costs are wisely spent."

"It means we're going to have to make sure we cut unnecessary spending," he said. "It's going to mean that we maintain economic growth and we should not raise taxes."

Without being asked, Putin stepped up to respond to Republican worries that Bush was writing a blank check for hurricane recovery that would increase the debt on generations to come.

The old Soviet Union had lived by the rule that money should not be taken from the pockets of future generations, Putin said. "But we never thought about the existing, current, present generations. And at the end of the day, we have destroyed the country not thinking about the people living today."
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