Baucus, Hatch Initiate "Blank-Slate" Approach to Tax Reform
On June 27, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) proposed a “blank-slate” approach as a legislative starting point for tax reform and called on Senate colleagues to provide proposals for tax expenditures to add back and improve in a reformed tax code.
“Over the past three years, the Finance Committee has been working hard on tax reform on a bipartisan basis. We’ve held more than 30 hearings and heard from hundreds of experts on reforming the tax code,” the senators wrote in a letter to their colleagues. “We’re now entering the home stretch. We need your input and partnership to get tax reform over the finish line.”
In an effort to develop the foundation for tax reform legislation, Senators Baucus and Hatch are calling on all senators to submit legislative language or detailed proposals for what tax expenditures and other provisions should be added back to a reformed code. The senators stress tax expenditures and other provisions should be added back only if they: help grow the economy, make the tax code fairer, or effectively promote other important policy objectives. Senators have until July 26 to submit their proposals.
This plan effectively means that the Senate Finance Committee will approach tax reform with all tax credits, including the low-income housing tax credit, as eliminated from the tax code. Therefore, for the tax credit community, this means there’s no time to spare. Supporters of tax credits for affordable housing should contact their senators and communicate the benefits these programs provide in their home states.