The upcoming 25th anniversary of the Tax Reform Act, which was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, has sparked a round of reminiscences, forums and white papers among budget analysts and tax wonks around town.
Twenty-five years after President Ronald Reagan signed his sweeping Tax Reform Act into law, tax talk is once again buzzing around Washington, D.C., and some on K Street are girding for the next generation of reforms.
"We all believe that it's going to happen in the not-too-distant future," said H. Stewart Van Scoyoc, president of Van Scoyoc Associates, which has beefed up its tax policy team in preparation. "The engine has been lit."
From President Barack Obama's "Buffett Rule" plan to raise taxes on those making more than $1 million a year, to GOP hopeful Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan, tax reform proposals are dominating political and deficit debates.
The Congressional super committee charged with finding more than $1 trillion in budget savings by Nov. 23 is mulling tax code revisions. Senate Republicans' new jobs bill includes a plan to reduce the individual and corporate tax rates to no more than 25 percent. The Senate Finance and the House Ways and Means committees have held closely watched tax reform hearings this fall.
Tax simplification and corporate tax reforms were central to the deficit reduction plan released last year by Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. By the end of this year, the administration will unveil a plan to overhaul the corporate tax code, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told reporters last month.
"Suddenly, there's a lot of tax issues on the table," said Elaine Kamarck, co- chairwoman of the recently formed Reducing America's Taxes Equitably Coalition, a group of businesses and trade associations pushing for a lower corporate tax rate as a starting point that enjoys bipartisan support. She added: "The classic trade-off is lower rates and then getting rid of loopholes."
Co-chaired by Kamarck, who served in the Clinton White House, and by James Pinkerton, a former aide to Reagan and President George H.W. Bush, the RATE Coalition has grown to 18 members since its launch last month, most recently adding CVS Caremark, Intel, Texas Instruments and its first financial services company — Capital One — to its roster.
In a letter Wednesday to the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, the RATE Coalition made the case for corporate tax code reductions and noted that it "has been 25 years since our country accomplished comprehensive, corporate tax reform."
The Tax Reform Act's 25th anniversary, which hits officially on Saturday, has sparked a round of reminiscences, forums and white papers among budget analysts and tax wonks around town.
The publication Tax Notes put out a special anniversary issue featuring commentary by leading political players and tax experts who played a role in the 1986 overhaul. The Tax Policy Center, run by the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, hosted a panel discussion Wednesday with leading tax experts dubbed "Time to '86 the Tax Code? Prospect for Tax Reform After 25 Years."
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