WASHINGTON, Oct 9 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton today proposed a reti

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WASHINGTON, Oct 9 (Reuters) Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton today proposed a retirement savings plan for lower- and middle-class families that would include tax credits as incentives for saving.

The plan, estimated to cost about 20 billion dollar to 25 billion dollar a year, would be paid for out of the revenues from estate taxes on wealthy Americans.

Clinton, a senator from New York and the Democratic front-runner in the race for the White House, said in a speech in Iowa the savings plan would help rebuild a ''strong and prosperous middle class.'' ''Many Americans have worked hard their entire lives ... but when it came time to retire they fell short,'' Clinton said as she unveiled her ''plan to help a new generation of Americans save and build wealth.'' ''I think it's imperative that we begin to let people acquire wealth again,'' she said.

Under the program, Clinton would provide a 1,000 dollar maximum tax credit for the first 1,000 dollar of savings by married couples who have an annual income of up to 60,000 dollar. The plan calls for a 500 dollar maximum tax credit on the first 1,000 dollar of savings for every couple making between 60,000 dollar and 100,000 dollar.

The plan would build off the existing employer-based retirement savings system and would allow individuals to contribute up to 5,000 dollar per year on a tax-deferred basis, though only the first $1,000 would be eligible for government matching tax credits.

Reuters TB VP0108

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