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PANETTA AND ROSTENKOWSKI SAY BTU TAX STILL ON THE TABLE; ALLIANCE PREPARES FOR CONFERENCE COMMITTEE SHOWDOWN

 WASHINGTON, June 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The Btu tax was on the air -- and back on the table -- yesterday, as both the president's budget director and the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee refused to declare the energy tax dead.
 American Energy Alliance (AEA) Chairman Jerry Jasinowski said: "Reports of the death of the Btu tax are premature. It is only sleeping. This is an outrage to the millions of Americans nationwide who have voiced their strong opposition to it."
 Vowing to continue the fight against the Btu tax in every congressional district, if necessary, Jasinowski and other AEA members expressed alarm at comments voiced by Budget Director Leon Panetta during "Meet the Press" on NBC:
 NBC Correspondent Lisa Myers:
 "But you do accept that the Btu tax is dead?"
 Panetta:
 "I -- you can't really make that conclusion until you see where all these pieces are. I mean, obviously some version of a broad-based energy tax is going to be part of this."
 Myers:
 "Well, why not just say it? Isn't the Btu tax dead?"
 Panetta:
 "Well, because I think you can't really make that conclusion until you put people in a room and decide what pieces can be picked up."
 On the same program, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.) expressed surprise at statements made by some lawmakers that the Btu tax is dead. "I've been in the presence -- in the company of President Clinton at least seven or eight times in the last two weeks and the president's never suggested to me that the Btu tax is dead," Rostenkowski said.
 Jasinowski called the administration's on-again, off-again, approach to the Btu tax "nothing more than a political shell game." He encouraged the president to pull the plug on the unpopular energy tax, once and for all, before House and Senate conferees begin negotiating a deficit-reduction bill.
 AEA insists that the Btu tax (including any disguised alternatives) is fatally flawed for these reasons:
 -- it will destroy jobs
 -- it will hurt the middle class
 -- it will not be spread evenly among regions
 -- it will stifle economic growth
 -- it will hurt competitiveness
 -- it will not be applied equally to all energy sources
 "We encourage House and Senate conferees to set their sights on the administration's original pledge of $2 in spending cuts for every dollar of increased taxes," Jasinowski added.
 The American Energy Alliance is a coalition of more than 2,100 companies, farm organizations, consumer groups and associations formed in opposition to the Btu tax.
 -0- 6/28/93
 /CONTACT: Monica Gliva, 202-637-3093, or Paul Huard, 202-637-3075, both of the American Energy Alliance/


CO: American Energy Alliance ST: District of Columbia IN: OIL SU: EXE LEG

DC-IH -- DC038 -- 6425 06/28/93 16:51 EDT
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Date:Jun 28, 1993
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