Baucus: 'Middle ground' needed on taxes

The Montana Democrat, who is up for re-election next year, was one of four senators from his party to vote against the Senate budget framework, which raised close to $1 trillion in revenue. A Baucus aide said last month that the Senate Democrats’ framework wasn’t a “sensible compromise.”

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The House GOP budget raises no revenues and a revenue-neutral tax reform, with both the top individual and corporate rate dropping to 25 percent. Obama’s budget, released this week, asks for some $580 billion in revenues, and opens the door to a revenue-neutral revamp of the corporate tax system.

Baucus and Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, have been working together for months to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive rewrite of the tax code.

The two wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week vowing to maintain the tax code’s current progressivity, and to make it simpler for both families and small businesses.

But the op-ed did not mention the issue of revenues, and Camp was recently quoted saying that both he and Baucus believed in a broad, revenue-neutral overhaul.

Baucus had previously said that he believed tax reform should raise revenues, including at a speech last June.

“We’re clearly on the same page with respect to tax reform, and also know that that question of revenue generated from when you broaden the base is a question we’re going to have to wrestle with,” Baucus told reporters after the hearing about he and Camp.

“I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I don’t see that as being a huge issue,” the Finance chairman added. “We’ll have to deal with it later.”