WASHINGTON An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenue from corporations and the wealthy is driving down the U.S. budget deficit this year, even though spending has climbed sharply because of the war in Iraq and the cost of hurricane relief. On Tuesday, White House officials are expected to announce that tax receipts will be about $250 billion above the level last year and that the deficit will be about $100 billion less than what they projected six months ago. The rising tide in tax payments has been building for months, but the increased scale is surprising even seasoned budget analysts and making it easier for both the administration and Congress to finesse the big run-up in spending over the past year. Tax revenues are climbing twice as fast as the administration predicted in February, so fast that the budget deficit could actually decline this year. The main reason is a surge in corporate tax receipts, which have nearly tripled since 2003, as well as what appears to be a big rise in individual taxes on stock market profits and executive bonuses. On Friday, the Congressional Budget Office reported that corporate tax receipts […]

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