Hoyer, Emanuel Concerned that Tax Reform Panel May Embrace “Bait and Switch” Proposals

For Immediate Release:

October 18, 2005

Contact:Stacey Farnen Bernards
(202) 225 - 3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, a Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, released the following statement today after the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform met for the last time in preparation for the release of its formal recommendations to the Administration on November 1.  Reps. Hoyer and Emanuel are Democratic leaders in the fight for real tax reform:
 
 “Democrats are committed to meaningful tax reform that simplifies our tax laws, and ensures fairness for the middle-class and small businesses.  In addition, we are committed to tax reform that does not add to the Republican deficits and does not raise taxes on the middle class.
 
 “Today, however, we are increasingly concerned that the Panel on Federal Tax Reform seems poised to make recommendations that could amount to little more than a bait-and-switch for millions of hard-working American families.  For example, the tax panel recognizes the unfairness and arbitrariness of the Alternative Minimum Tax, and suggests that the AMT be eliminated.  However, in return for eliminating the AMT, the panel apparently wants to cap the mortgage-interest deduction and the health-insurance exclusion, and eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes.
 
 “As a result, what the panel seems to offer with one hand, it apparently wants to take away with the other.  That, in our view, should not be the purpose of tax reform.
 
 “However, we are pleased that the panel is giving serious consideration to compressing the tax laws that apply to retirement savings, and the creation of a new family credit.
 
 “As we move forward on this issue, it is imperative that the President exert leadership and demonstrate a willingness to expend some political capital.  We hope the Republican Party learned a lesson on its failed effort to privatize Social Security, and actually works with Democrats on this issue.  Finally, we want to forewarn our colleagues on the other side: Any attempt to use tax reform as a pretext for further tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest taxpayers and drive us further into the fiscal ditch will be met with fierce resistance.”

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