More Reflections on Reform

More Reflections on Reform

Dreaming is free, but tax reform isn’t. TPC’s Bill Gale reviews an unusual aspect of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s tax reform plan: Camp tells us how he’d  pay for it, making plenty of folks uncomfortable. And James P. Pinkerton, former domestic policy advisor to President Ronald Reagan, provides a useful bit of history from the Tax Reform Act of 1986. “Tax reform lived and died two or three times before it was enacted,” he remembers.

Don’t even dream—or think—about it? Unsurprisingly, Wall Street campaign donors haven’t reacted warmly to Camp’s plan and its proposed bank tax and treatment of private equity firms as businesses. But, if you want to think about reform, anyway (we know you do)…

Broaden the base, lower the rate, and mind the burden. On corporate tax reform, University of Connecticut’s George Plesko and TPC’s Eric Toder caution that today’s business structures are a creation of  decades of past tax policies. Reductions in corporate rates without comparable changes in personal rates can increase the tax burden on many businesses.

And if reformers won’t evaluate the merits of individual tax expenditures… You can learn how a host of across-the-board tax expenditure limitations might work. TPC’s Eric Toder, Joe Rosenberg and Amanda Eng evaluate six different models.

And the next chairman of Ways & Means will be…? Rep. Kevin Brady of Houston said Friday he’ll challenge House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) to replace Camp as head of the tax writing panel. Brady is the #2 Republican on the committee and is considered a more hard-core conservative than Ryan. Because of GOP term-limits, Camp must step down at the end of the year.

Up This Week

The President’s 2015 Budget. It’s set for release tomorrow, as if you didn’t know. Bloomberg reports that Obama will propose a “glide-by budget.” As “part of the election-year strategy, Obama is proposing $56 billion in new spending, [with] a bite-sized agenda including the repackaging of previous budget proposals to increase [funding] of education, job training and research.”

Webinar on Wednesday. Don’t forget: Tax Credits for Working Families hosts a webinar on March 5. Register here and learn the details and potential impact of the President’s proposal to increase the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and of its prospects on Capitol Hill.

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