House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday declined to fully flesh out the tax-reform proposal contained in his 2013 budget coming to a House floor vote next week.
Ryan, in a news conference after the release of his budget, said it will be up to the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee to specify the tax proposals later.
“No, you don’t have to get rid of all of them,” Ryan said at a news conference.
Ryan’s plan broadly proposes collapsing the six marginal individual tax rates into just two rates — 10 percent and 25 percent. To pay for the huge reduction in revenue this would entail, the budget calls for tax shelters and deductions to be eliminated.
The budget, based directly on an outline from Ways and Means Republicans, avoids specifying which tax deductions would be hit. It also doesn’t specify on what income the new tax brackets would be applied.
This has led to criticism from Democrats, who said the GOP budget would hurt middle-class taxpayers.
“The only way to cut the top tax rate to 25 percent is to essentially end the tax deductions for health care coverage, mortgage interest expenses and charitable contributions, even as Republicans would keep the temporary lower rates for capital gains and dividends that mainly benefit very high-income taxpayers,” Ways and Means Committee ranking member Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) said in a statement.
Ryan said the plan is written in a way in which revenue is neither raised nor lowered overall compared to current policy. Revenue would simply remain at current levels. In this way, the proposal can be scored, even though loopholes are not identified, and exactly who falls into what bracket is not specified, he said.