Regular readers of Tax Foundation reports know that we publish estimates of the distributional impact of federal tax changes: that is, we estimate how a tax reform might affect the after-tax incomes of taxpayers at...
- The Tax Policy Blog
- Pat Toomey Gets it Right on Tax Reform
Pat Toomey Gets it Right on Tax Reform
Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania wrote an excellent piece in National Review on the subject of tax reform. He recognizes that tax reform is an outstanding opportunity for lawmakers to make a real difference in the economy, but he also realizes that this potential could be wasted by the need to stick to arbitrary Congressional scoring rules.
One of these rules is revenue neutrality – particularly, revenue neutrality on a static basis. The requirement of revenue-neutral tax reform can result in pitfalls, and this is especially true on the corporate side. Almost any tax revenue drawn from corporations, in one way or another, is a tax on investment in America, and it is therefore difficult to create dynamic growth without being explicitly non-neutral on a static basis.
Senator Toomey is right that the answer is to move towards dynamic scoring of tax reform bills – to make sure that revenue remains sufficient after accounting for the growth that tax changes would create. In this respect, Chairman Camp’s request for a dynamic score clearly is a move in the right direction. If Chairman Camp were allowed to create a tax plan that was revenue-neutral on a dynamic basis, it’s likely he would not have been hamstrung into including some of the more dubious offsets in his plan. For example, Senator Toomey is right when he says lengthening depreciation schedules reduce the incentive to invest in jobs in the United States, and that this problem tends to offset the growth one might get from lowering corporate rates.
Additionally, Senator Toomey’s skepticism of extenders – “temporary” tax provisions that are always scheduled to expire but end up being re-instituted every year – is well placed, and extenders certainly further muddy the waters of tax reform.
Senator Toomey’s piece is a good contribution to the conversation on tax reform, and well worth the read.
Get Email Updates from the Tax Foundation
Join the Tax Foundation's fight for sound tax policy Go
About the Tax Policy Blog
The Tax Policy Blog is the official blog of the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization that has monitored tax policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. Our economists welcome your feedback. If you would like to send an e-mail to the author of a blog post, please click on that person's name to locate his or her e-mail address or visit our staff page here.