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Friday, October 1, 2010

Tax Reform Discussions in 2011?

A 9/29/10 article in The Hill - "Rep. Levin seeks early action on tax reform next year" reports that the House Ways & Means Committee chair wants to have lots of tax reform hearings in 2011. He says: "We're serious about looking at our tax code." The Hill also reports Congressman Levin saying that reform needs to happen in a non-election year.

Of course, it remains to be seen as to:
  1. Will any such hearings include identifying the most significant problems in the federal tax law, why changes are needed (such as due to complexity, inequity, a high tax gap and bringing the tax law into the 21st century)?
  2. Broadening the base and lowering the rate?
  3. Ending campaign promises for special tax breaks?
  4. Being honest with the public about the need to balance the budget and pay down the enormous national debt? (what I've referred to as the "tough love" talk)
  5. Whether reforms will look at all federal taxes rather than only the income tax? I think it should all be looked at because it is the only way to really meet the principles of good tax policy and bring respect and sustainability to the system.

Also, President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is to issue its report in early December 2010. We'll also need to see if they can get the requisite 14 of 18 commissioners to agree on a plan and if they meet their deadline. If a consensus report is issued, will Congress take a look (12 of the 18 commissioners are current members of Congress).

What do you think?


Peter Reilly said...

In the early 80's I decided that I should go for a masters in computer science rather than a masters in tax, because they were real serious about simplification. Because of what was available I ended up getting a Masters in Applied Mathematics. But I have managed to make a good living on the complexities of the reformed simplified Internal Revenue Code of 1986. The key to simplification would be to freeze the Code possibly after overhauling it.

Parag said...

Providing property tax relief has been a staple of gubernatorial and legislative campaigns for years, but successive administrations and legislatures have been thwarted and frustrated in efforts to achieve significant progress.

Property tax reform