The Economic Club of Washington welcomed Chairman Max Baucus and Chairman Dave Camp to talk Tax Reform. The Chairmen are having discussions all over the country, meeting with citizens in order to gain support to reform the broken tax code.
The Chairmen described their hopes for the tax system, both agreeing that there needs to be a full overhaul. The code has not been updated since 1986 and there have been 15,000 changes. That’s the equivalent of making 555 changes per year for the last 27 years.
Chairman Baucus says the chances of a comprehensive tax code being passed are “quite good” despite the friction between House Republicans and Senate Democrats. Chairman Camp calls the current code “indefensible” referencing the need for more jobs and job growth, especially for young people entering the workforce. He also spoke to the complexity of the code, namely how unfair the code feels to tax payers and the overwhelming costs of compliance.
Both Chairmen agree that the chances are over 50% of passing a comprehensive reform through Congress.
When asked whether the tax code would be revenue neutral or if it would be raising revenue, Chairman Baucus replied “both” to a chuckle from the crowd. The bill that comes out of Senate Finance is expected to raise revenue while the one coming out of the House will most likely not.
Baucus is hopeful that since he and Camp agree on the same broad goals they will be able to come to an agreement in a conference committee. Referring to President Obama administration’s role in the reform, Chairman Baucus said the President was very involved, but would not be sending a bill to Congress like President Reagan did in 1986.
The duo is holding informal grassroots hearings around the country, travelling this week to Philadelphia, PA to speak with big and small business owners. Taxpayers and business owners are being asked to share feedback on their joint website: www.taxreform.gov.
Baucus has asked Senate Colleague’s to outline their ideas for a new tax code, to build from a clean slate, promising to keep them confidential. Chairman Baucus explained that they were keeping the plans confidential in order to encourage “candid” submissions.
In contrast, the House Ways & Means committee collected 1,300 submissions from outside groups and Members, issuing a Joint Committee report.
When talking about specific taxes they would be willing to raise or lower, both Chairmen agreed that everything was on the table. Chairman Camp says the parameters they will be following are growth, simplicity, and fairness.
Our hope is more private business owners and individuals will remind both Camp and Baucus not to forget Estate Tax reform in their discussions. ASSET continues to raise awareness through our grass roots network and in Washington.
This August when your Representative and your Senator return home, make a point to ask them about ASSET in tax reform to stop the harmful affects of the estate tax. While the debate rages on whether there should be an estate tax, we can stop the harm caused by the current collection method right away. ASSET offers that answer.
By Elizabeth Virga, Americans Standing for the Simplification of the Estate Tax