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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Revenue Ideas for the Internal Revenue Code

Every 2 years, the Congressional Budget Office releases a lengthy report with a list of well explained list of possible changes to spending and to the Internal Revenue Code that Congress could consider. All of the ideas have revenue estimates too. This year, CBO released the report in 2 parts. The first part was issued in December 2008 and dealt with health care changes including changes to the tax law. Part 2 was released in August 2009.

Do any of the tax ideas in the August report move the tax system into the 21st century? Most of the proposals are changes to make the system more fair, simpler or raise taxes. For example, one suggestion is to have a flat 35% tax rate for all corporations (no more graduated rate structure). Another is to simplify the education provisions by consolidating them. An example of an equity proposal is one to reduce the mortgage interest deduction or convert it to a tax credit too.

But back to modernization, proposals here include:
  • Reducing the corporate tax rate by 5% - that would reflect that in the global economy, most other countries have a lower rate structure than the US. A lower rate could improve international competitiveness - something more crucial in the 21st century.
  • Eliminating the telephone excise tax - an outdated tax.
  • Adding some polluter pays taxes that should help reduce GHG emissions and improve air quality, reflecting global efforts to reduce both climate change and pollution.

I have a short article on the August CBO report that includes links to the two parts of the report - here.

What proposals intrigue you?

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