100 People to Watch This Fall : Page 101 of 102

Len Burman Director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center

For an obscure Washington think tank, the Tax Policy Center played an outsized role in the 2012 presidential election. 

Last year, a Tax Policy Center study asserted that GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s tax plan would have to shift the tax burden toward the middle class to keep it from adding to the deficit. Obama’s campaign latched on to the analysis even as Romney dismissed it as “garbage.” 

The back-and-forth underscored the influence of the tax center and its sophisticated models. 

The center’s yearly analyses of both the president’s budget and Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanDems find voice with disruption Democrats plan 'day of action' to keep spotlight on guns Dem protest ignites debate about control of House cameras MORE’s (R-Wis.) road map, for instance, are well read around town — as would its scoring of any tax reform plan that gains traction on Capitol Hill.

Burman is coming back to the center after helping to found TPC in 2002 and serving in the director role until 2009. Most recently a Syracuse professor, Burman was also at the Treasury Department during the 1986 tax reform push, and later was a deputy assistant secretary at the department late in the Clinton administration.