Economic conditions are sure to play a big role in which candidate Missourians elect to the United States Senate to replace Senator Bond.

Persistent poor economic numbers have Democrats in Washington re-thinking an extension of Bush-era tax cuts. Republican Roy Blunt, a Congressman from southwest Missouri, says Democrats have been too eager to state they will end the tax cuts.

“They have been misleading about these taxes. They have used this as class warfare and it’s catching up with them,” says Blunt.

As for Democrat Robin Carnahan, Missouri’s Secretary of State, she agrees with Blunt that the tax cuts should be extended.

“I think we need to extend those,” Carnahan tells reporters. “Now is not the time to be doing anything to raise taxes. We’re still in the midst of a downturn in the economy and so we need to keep those tax cuts in place.”

Carnahan says all of the tax cuts approved during President Bush’s administration should be extended. any Democrats had called for them to end. They argued that the tax cuts benefitted only the wealthy and hadn’t proven to spur job growth. A new report by the Congressional Budget Office, though, has made many reconsider that stance. The office, which is nonpartisan, has stated that one way to create jobs and boost the economy would be to extend some of the tax cuts. The report does note that the price for job creation would be higher budget deficits and deeper debt.

Tax cuts implemented during the Bush Administration include a drop of the lowest tax rate from 15% to 10%; a cut for married filers;increasing the deduction for dependents from $500 to $1,000; cuts to the capital gains tax, among others. They expire at the end of this year, unless Congress extends them. The Obama Administration has indicated it would be willing to extend some to individuals earning $200,000 or less and to couples earning $250,000 or less. Extending the middle-class cuts over the next decade would cost about $1.4 trillion, according to congressional tax analysts. Extending tax cuts for high-earners as well would bring the total price tag to more than $2 trillion.

Blunt and Carnahan might agree on extending the tax cuts. They don’t agree on the $787 billion federal economic stimulus package. Carnahan supports it, though says it should have focused on small businesses.

“It did some, but it didn’t do enough,” Carnahan says. “It did a lot to give tax breaks to Missourians. Two-point-two million Missourians got a tax break from that. Congressman Blunt voted against that tax break for Missourians.”

Blunt states flatly that the stimulus package hasn’t worked; for a good reason.

“Because it wasn’t focused on private-sector job creators,” Blunt says. “It was focused on spending government money, largely for government programs.”

Blunt says a more focused approached could have spent a fraction of the money for better results.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1:20 MP3]