Domestic Taxes

Treasury nominee: Tax reform proposal not in the works

Under questioning from the panel’s chairman, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mazur did say that the corporate tax framework the administration was a step in the right direction.

{mosads}That outline proposed reducing the top corporate rate from 35 percent to 28 percent, while also scrubbing the code of tax breaks. 

Both Republicans and Democrats in Washington generally believe the current tax system is outdated and contains too many preferences. The House GOP has called for reducing both the top individual and corporate rate to 25 percent. 

“We thought that having a framework for business tax reform would at least allow there to be opportunities to find six or eight or ten areas of common ground where we can move forward and build some momentum for taking on the more difficult task of comprehensive reform,” Mazur, currently Treasury’s deputy assistant secretary for tax analysis, said later in the hearing. 

But while the administration has shown more of an interest in corporate reform so far, Republicans like House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) believe the tax code should be revamped for individuals and companies in tandem. 

Many GOP lawmakers also dismissed the administration framework as lacking in details, and are more interested in a revenue-neutral reform. 

The Finance nomination hearing came as Democrats and Republicans have tried to score political points with tax votes in recent weeks. 

Democrats, pushing an election-year message of tax fairness, have pledged to take continued votes on the so-called Buffett Rule, after an unsuccessful April vote in the Senate. House Republicans, meanwhile, successfully pushed through a 20 percent tax cut for small businesses.

But at the same time, some on Capitol Hill are also concerned that lawmakers are not laying enough groundwork to deal with the expiring Bush tax cuts and other fiscal issues that need to be dealt with at the end of the year. 

Policymakers have also acknowledged that they have a better shot at reforming the tax code in the next Congress. 

Still, Finance members in both parties seemed concerned with the administration’s approach on reform so far. 

Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), the top Republican on the panel, declared that it would be “charitable” to say the White House didn’t want to lead on the issue. 

“It would be good to hear from you an actual comprehensive vision for tax reform,” Hatch told Mazur in his opening statement.

For his part, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who is long been interested in tax reform and released another bipartisan proposal on the matter in the current Congress, took issue with Mazur’s statements that the administration was in the early stages of developing public support for tax reform. 

“I’d like to see a sense of urgency, particularly because this is so directly related to job creation, as we saw the last time it was done,” Wyden said. 

Tags Max Baucus Orrin Hatch Ron Wyden
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