One step closer to tax reform

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Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee

Article Highlights

  • By definition, tax reform alters the current tax landscape and creates winners and losers.

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  • Making the tax code simpler and fairer are important conservative objectives.

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  • Tax reform offers the opportunity to create a more level playing field, which will help our economy grow.

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Yesterday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Michigan) unveiled the most sweeping, elaborate, and aggressive income tax reform proposal in a generation. His plan is the result of years of effort that have included bipartisan outreach, dozens of hearings, and thousands of hours of staff time. He deserves enormous credit for pursuing such a challenging task, especially considering the daunting politics and logistics involved.

Two years ago, I packaged together a set of proposed tax changes that I believed would be pro-growth, progressive, practical, and revenue-neutral. The idea was a reform that lowered the corporate tax rate, limited tax breaks for high-income individuals (the mortgage interest and state and local tax deductions), and repealed the Alternative Minimum Tax, among other adjustments. My plan, drawing on bipartisan suggestions that have existed in the tax reform world for a number of years, attempted to reduce the marginal tax on new business activities while broadening the tax base for those who can most afford it. The plan upset realtors, some firms who love debt financing, and the rich who feel overtaxed already. But others praised it for being specific, reducing unnecessary tax distortions, and lowering the tax on new investment. It was a small reform idea but my thesis was that Congress might not have the will to tackle the entire system.

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