Flake goes public with tax reform submission

“While I appreciate your willingness to tackle this challenging topic and the 'blank slate' approach you are taking, questions regarding what that precisely entails and where it leaves the taxpayer make providing a complete prescription of which tax provisions should stay and which should go difficult,” Flake wrote to Baucus and Hatch. “At this point in the process, I am pleased to provide the following recommendations regarding broad goals for comprehensive tax reform.”

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Those comments illustrate some of the other concerns that senators have had about the “blank slate,” namely that arguing for a particular tax break is tough without knowing whether revenue created by eliminating it will go solely toward lowering tax rates or reducing the deficit. Baucus and Hatch have put off that question and declined to set goals yet on how low tax rates might go in a reformed tax code.

In his letter, Flake calls for lowering the top individual and corporate rates — now 39.6 percent and 35 percent, respectively — and compliments a House GOP suggestion to set the individual code at two rates, 10 percent and 25 percent. Democrats have said that proposal would require trillions of dollars in tax breaks to be eliminated.

The Arizona Republican also pushes to revamp the U.S.’s international tax system and protect more of corporations’ offshore income from taxation, a move, Flake says, that would encourage more investment back home.

Flake also calls for a vastly simpler tax code and notes that some 46 percent of taxpayers don’t pay income tax because of the number of deductions and credits in the code.