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Thursday, October 12, 2006

U.S. Deficit Is Smallest in Four Years


WASHINGTON — President Bush got some welcome news Wednesday as the federal deficit for the last fiscal year shrank to $247.7 billion, the smallest in four years, because of a nearly 12% jump in tax revenue. Bush said the numbers were more evidence that the economy was booming thanks to tax cuts that he wanted to see extended.

At two separate briefings, Bush used the news as an opportunity to reassure voters less than a month before midterm congressional elections that the economy was still in good shape, with more new jobs and investment leading to greater tax revenue.

Tax relief fuels economic growth and … when the economy grows, more tax revenues come to Washington. And that's what's happened," Bush said at his afternoon news conference, where he was joined by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.Bush said "pro-growth policies" that congressional Democrats had resisted had helped him deliver on a 2004 campaign promise to halve the deficit, and three years ahead of schedule.