April 2005

Money, money, money | Capitol Hill

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Money, money, money

by Craig S. Brightup
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April 15 is the date on which most Americans file personal income tax returns. The White House and both parties in Congress will use the week of April 15 to spotlight pro-taxpayer initiatives. But with Republicans controlling the executive and legislative branches, it is their tax proposals that establish debate parameters. However, such proposals ultimately must generate bipartisan congressional support to become law.

On Jan. 7, President Bush announced the establishment of a bipartisan panel to recommend options to reform the tax code. The panel's charge is to make the tax code simpler, fairer and more pro-growth to benefit all taxpayers. Former Sens. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) and John Breaux (D-La.) are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the President's Advisory Panel on Tax Reform. The panel will submit to the secretary of the treasury a report containing revenue-neutral policy options for reforming the federal Internal Revenue Code no later than July 31.

Early indications suggest the panel is more interested in incremental changes to the current system rather than sweeping changes to replace it.

For example, the panel appears to be much more interested in a value-added tax, which is a consumption tax, rather than a flat tax that would do away with all deductions and establish one...

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