Baucus Signals Openness to Revenue-Neutral Tax Reform
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus is reportedly open to revenue-neutral tax reform but says no final decisions have been made yet.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) is reportedly open to a revenue-neutral approach to tax reform, which could be a hard sell to Senate Democrats.
However, after Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told reporters this week that he has an agreement with Baucus to craft a tax reform package that does not raise new tax revenue, the two offices issued a joint statement saying that no final decisions have been made about revenue.
“The main question is not whether tax reform raises revenue,” the statement said. “It’s what is done with the revenue raised through closing loopholes, simplifying the code and making other adjustments. That is the question that still needs to be answered and will be resolved through this process.”
Baucus and Hatch are pushing a “blank-slate” approach as a legislative starting point for tax reform and have called on their Senate colleagues to make their case for which tax expenditures to add back to a reformed tax code. Baucus and Hatch stressed that tax expenditures and other provisions should only be added back if they help the economy grow, make the tax code fairer, or effectively promote other important policy objectives. Senators have until July 26 to submit their proposals. Baucus and Hatch said they would give special attention to proposals that are bipartisan.
Baucus also sounded a bipartisan tone earlier this week when he kicked off a tax reform road tour with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI). Baucus and Camp met Monday with workers in St. Paul, Minnesota, to talk about the need to overhaul the tax code in an effort to boost the economy and create more jobs.
“Our tax code today contains nearly four million words and is riddled with loopholes that are acting as a brake on our economy,” Baucus and Camp said. “We have an opportunity to change all that. Tax reform can make the code simpler and fairer for America’s families and businesses and spark a more prosperous economy.”
(official Congressional photo)