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Bush blasts McCain – Says tax plan could hurt charity

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In the teeth of a suddenly tough fight for the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Gov. George W. Bush has accused U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona of proposing tax changes that could hurt contributions to churches, colleges and charities, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The attack, made in a new Bush ad airing in South Carolina and Michigan, targets McCain’s plan to limit deductibility for some charitable donations, mainly stock.

Bush’s criticism seems aimed at religious conservatives in South Carolina, which holds its primary Feb. 19, the Journal says.

Bush in the past has said McCain’s tax plan is too small, and flawed, because it would eliminate the deductibility of many standard fringe benefits that businesses give to their employees.

Bush, who has called for support for faith-based charities, is focusing his newest attack on McCain’s proposal to reform or eliminate tax breaks for corporations and individuals, including “deductions for donations of appreciated property beyond its actual cost.”

The Bush camp claims McCain wants to curb deductibility of donations of appreciated property, including stock, to the original cost, the Journal says.

That could hurt charitable donations of stock, much of which is held for long periods of time and grows in value.

Under McCain’s plan, a donor still could sell stock before donating the proceeds, but likely would have to pay capital-gains taxes first, the Journal reports.

McCain says his goal is to “close tax loopholes. You can pick those apart and find problems with all of them.”

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