Lawmakers Continue to Drive for Comprehensive Tax Reform

By: Chris Vest

Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), set to retire at the end of his term in 2014, hopes to make tax reform a legacy issue. [Titled "Taxing Questions" in the print edition.]

The principal drivers of tax reform in the House and Senate continue to press for comprehensive tax reform this year, and with news in April that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) will retire at the end of his term in 2014, some say the prospects for a bipartisan overhaul of the tax code are significantly brighter.

Baucus has been trying, along with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), to complete the first major rewrite of the U.S. tax system since 1986. While there are significant differences between the parties on tax reform, Baucus and Camp say they already agree on several fundamental principles, including that the tax code needs to be simplified to ensure a more level playing field for American families and close special-interest loopholes to help lower rates, that the corporate tax rate should belowered to ensure U.S. companies are competitive in the global economy, and that parity should be ensured for small businesses so that they're able to create jobs and compete.

Baucus' pursuit of tax reform as a legacy achievement will depend largely on his ability to manage his party's split with the Republican-led House over revenue issues.When the president released his budget blueprint in the spring, Camp and other House Republicans attacked it as an attempt to help corporate America while raising taxes on American families.

Nevertheless, Baucus sounded determined when he announced he won't run for reelection next year. "I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work," he said.

ASAE is closely watching the progress of tax reform and studying its potential implications for associations and other tax-exempt organizations.

Chris Vest is director of public policy at ASAE. Email:[email protected]