WASHINGTON-The competing tax reform proposals of President Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Robert J. Dole aren't stirring up much interest among tire dealers and others in the tire industry. Almost by definition, businessmen prefer the Dole plan, which does not seek to make business pay for individual tax breaks through repealing or cutting business-related tax loopholes. But neither document contains anything specific to tire dealers or makers.
``Our members who pay individual tax rates-those incorporated under `Subchapter S' or who are unincorporated-would recognize the benefits (of both plans) at varying levels,'' said Donald T. Wilson, director of government relations for the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association.
``Individual tax cuts would put more money in consumers' pockets, which benefits retailers,'' Mr. Wilson said. ``But what happens if credit markets react and interest rates rise?''
Both proposals make substantial bids for the allegiance of individual taxpayers. Mr. Dole's much-publicized 15-percent reduction in the individual tax rate would be phased in over three years, beginning May 7, 1997. In addition, Mr. Dole would cut the capital gains tax in half.
While President Clinton promises no tax cuts, he does offer a package of tax breaks for homeowners and families with children in college. These include an exclusion of up to $500,000 for the sale of a house and a $1,500 tax credit on first-year college tuition.
Mr. Dole offers similar, slightly less rich homeowner and higher education tax credits. Both candidates have endorsed a $500 tax credit for each dependent child, but Mr. Dole's is more inclusive, allowing families with income of up to $110,000 to take it. With President Clinton, the threshold is $75,000.
The Clinton plan includes tax incentives for employers to hire workers dropped from the welfare rolls. Among these are a ``Welfare-to-Work'' tax credit, allowing a 50-percent deduction on the first $10,000 in wages of former welfare recipients.
Mr. Dole's proposal makes more of an appeal to the self-employed. Among other things, it takes the phase-in of an 80-percent deduction on health insurance for the self-employed, which President Clinton signed into law Aug. 2, and extends it to 100 percent-a move the NTDRA long has advocated.
One major difference between the two plans is how they would pay for themselves. Both would cut federal spending, but the Clinton proposal tacks on $8.5 billion worth of mostly business-related tax increases.
Mr. Wilson, however, found both spending cut proposals vague. ``Historically, tax cuts are unwise if not balanced by spending cuts in other areas,'' he said.
Whichever plan comes closer to eventual reality, neither is likely to make much difference to the rubber industry, according to economic experts.
``When things wash out, tax rates have little or no effect on how the economy performs,'' said George Dagnino, an Akron financial adviser who until last December was Goodyear's chief economist.
David Meyer, a professor of management at the University of Akron, concurred: ``Industry and the economy are pretty much immune to any change that can make it through the system.''