Tax Reform Lives On in Washington

March 17, 2006

The momentum for federal tax reform may have slowed in recent months, but it still creeps forward in Washington. Tax Analysts reports that the House Ways and Means Committee plans a series of hearings on fundamental tax reform in May 2006:

Although many observers have given up tax reform for dead in 2006, House Ways and Means Committee Chair William M. Thomas, R-Calif., said March 15 that his committee is scheduling a series of hearings to examine tax reform options.

Thomas told reporters three or four hearings are in the works, the first of which has been scheduled for May. Witnesses will include members of Congress, tax policy analysts, and academics, Thomas said, and they will comment on the current tax system as well as proposed fixes.

A former Joint Committee on Taxation chief of staff predicted March 15 that Thomas will launch a full-fledged effort to reform the tax code beginning in May. Kenneth J. Kies, now a lobbyist with Clark Consulting, said Thomas is one of the few people on Capitol Hill who still believes tax reform can move in an election year. Something happens every year that changes the legislative landscape, and tax reform could be “the sleeper, and the surprise, and something we really ought to keep an eye out [for]” this year, Kies said at a Washington tax and budget seminar sponsored by Clark Consulting and Baker & Hostetler.

Also speaking at the conference was House Ways and Means Committee member E. Clay Shaw Jr., R-Fla., who told reporters he believes Thomas “would like to leave [tax reform] as his legacy.”

Watch for the date of the upcoming hearings here.

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