Sec of Treasury: Trump’s tax reform not likely to hit deadline

Hoping to make changes in a single bill, the Trump administration has targeted August as the deadline month to get tax reform laws enacted. However, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this week that the timeline has become “highly aggressive to not realistic.”

On Wednesday, Trump campaign advisers Steve Forbes, Larry Kudlow, Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore — co-founders of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity — wrote in an op-ed that “a business-only tax cut bill would be the easiest way for Trump to score a legislative achievement early in his presidency,” according to a report in The Hill.

The group suggested that the first thing Trump should do is get to work on a bill that makes tax changes for businesses and includes infrastructure funding to make it attractive to Democrats. After this happens, they can go about individual income tax reform in 2018.

They said, “Republicans need to act with some degree of urgency. The financial markets and American businesses are starting to get jittery over the prospect that a tax cut won’t get done this year. A failure here would be negative for the economy and the stock market and could stall out the ‘Trump bounce’ we have seen since the president’s election.”

According to Moore, they wrote the op-ed in an effort to “focus the White House on what we can get done.” Noting that Democrats aren’t very interested in signing onto a comprehensive tax-reform bill, he pointed out the unlikelihood of only one party getting to sign off on broad-based tax reform.

Quickly cutting the corporate tax rate “would stimulate the economy enormously” and could be taken care of “in minutes,” Laffer predicted, adding that negotiating tax changes for individuals takes more time.

Some congressional leaders want comprehensive reform. “There’s growth on the family and individual side as well,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), adding that he hopes Congress doesn’t begin the process of tax reform by only cutting taxes for businesses.

Brady also said that the American public is more interested in a simple, fair tax code. He added that making changes for individuals “can help us move the tax cuts and reforms forward on the business side.”

The House GOP is working on a tax reform plan, but one of its central elements — a border-adjustment proposal to tax imports and exempt exports — is coming up against opposition from retailers and some senators.

Forbes, Kudlow, Laffer and Moore commented that the GOP border-adjustment proposal is just too controversial. “It divides the very business groups that the party needs to rally behind tax reform,” they said.







 

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