Washington, DC - A trigger for tax-cuts and spending would enable Congress to cut taxes, maintain its fiscal discipline and pay down our national debt, Senator Tom Carper announced today. "What I fear we are going to end up doing is cutting taxes more than we ought to and, in the end, come back and say we are spending more money than we can afford. We went down that path in 1981, and my fear is we are going right back down that path in 2001," Carper said. "We should not cut taxes or increase spending if doing so throws our nation back into deficits. This trigger keeps our nation on the path to responsible budgeting and off the trail of enormous budget deficits that was blazed in the eighties and early nineties. It is a common-sense solution which encourages common-sense budgeting." Once a trigger is in place, the first phase of any tax cut would be immediately implemented. In following years, the next phase of that tax cut could not be applied until Congress met reduction targets in publicly-held debt. If the publicly-held debt exceeded these targets, the scheduled phase-in of all tax cuts for the upcoming calendar year would be delayed for one year or until the target is reached. At the same time, if debt-reduction targets are not met for that year, discretionary spending is held at the previous year's funding level, with only small increases to adjust for inflation. Just like a tax cut, the scheduled phase-in of new mandatory spending benefits would be delayed for one year or until such time as the debt target is achieved. "As Governor, I cut taxes seven years in a row, reducing the tax burden by up to fifty percent for some middle-class families. But at no time did, or would, I sign a tax cut that was not sustainable and consistent with a balanced budget," Carper said. Before budget discussions began, Carper held "Tax Cut Town Meetings" in every county in Delaware. From the university town of Newark to the state's corporate center of Wilmington to more rural areas in Kent and Sussex County, Carper listened to Delawareans' opinions on tax cuts and debt reduction. At every meeting, Carper heard strong support for the idea of tying new tax cuts to successfully achieving reductions in the national debt. "Delawareans know that if you're drowning in debt, you do your best to pay your bills before making large new purchases," Carper said.