By now many people know that the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is likely to be modified because it was meant to be a back-stop tax for the super-rich but will start affecting the more moderate-income families if the existing AMT exemptions are not extended. By now, most people in government know that "fixing" the AMT is not cheap. Continuing Congress's recent practice of applying a one-year "patch" each year will cost $250 billion over the next four years.
What nobody knows, however, is whether the President thinks AMT reform should paid for or not. Since some members of Congress have proposed repealing the AMT altogether (which could cost $1.5 trillion over a decade), the possible implications for the federal budget deficit are alarming. Tony Snow's recent response to questions about paying for AMT reform were not exactly crystal clear. In a long explanation of the White House position that clarified little, he said that "the President is not for tax increases," but later said "We don't think it needs to involve tax increases, but we're certainly open to hearing what other people have to say." The CTJ Talking Taxes Blog has more.