House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., promised that “transformational” tax reform will be accomplished in 2017 during an address Tuesday.
“Once in a generation or so, there is an opportunity to do something transformational—something that will have a truly lasting impact long after we are gone,” Ryan said at the 2017 Manufacturing Summit in Washington, D.C. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to fix this nation’s tax code once and for all.”
The tax code, Ryan said, has evolved over the years and become needlessly complicated.
“As the world changed, our tax code has remained stuck in neutral,” Ryan said. “It has ballooned to 70,000 pages of rules and regulations that few people today actually understand. There is an old line about this: Our tax code is about five times as long as the Bible, but with none of the good news.”
Ryan said tax reform, an effort led by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, will include elimination of the death tax and alternative minimum tax, which will “ensure that profitable corporations pay at least some federal income tax,” Ryan said.
The alternative minimum tax is a “complicated parallel tax system that was designed to ensure some tax is paid but instead just adds additional complexity to an already burdensome system,” Heritage Foundation policy analyst Adam Michel told The Daily Signal in an email.
The House Republicans’ blueprint for tax reform gets rid of both the individual and corporate alternative minimum tax, Michel said.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 20, 2017
Tax reform will also include changes for tax deductions, Ryan said.
“We will clear out special interest carve-outs and excessive deductions, and focus on keeping those that make the most sense: home ownership, charitable giving, and retirement savings,” Ryan said.
Tax reform will also entail reducing the number of tax brackets, Ryan said.
“We will consolidate the existing seven brackets into three, double the standard deduction, and simplify things to the point that you can do your taxes on a form the size of a postcard,” Ryan said. “Wouldn’t that be nice?”
Ryan also called for “slashing our corporate tax rate [to a rate] as low as possible.”
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 20, 2017
This will include, Ryan said, doing away with special-interest “carve-outs,” and exchanging them with lower tax rates for businesses.
These changes must be lasting, Ryan said.
“There is one last piece to this puzzle, and it goes back to the idea that all of this is about looking down the road, and planning for the future,” Ryan said. “These reforms—these tax cuts—they need to be permanent.”
Vice President Mike Pence also addressed the attendees at the Manufacturing Summit, where he highlighted President Donald Trump’s dedication to regulatory reform.
“In the first 100 days of this administration, I am proud to say that President Trump signed 14 bills under the Congressional Review Act to cut burdensome regulations, saving businesses like yours up to $18 billion dollars in compliance costs per year,” Pence said.
Passed in 1996 in concert with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act and then-Speaker Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America reform agenda, the Congressional Review Act is what the Congressional Research Service calls “an oversight tool that Congress may use to overturn a rule issued by a federal agency.”
Trump will also be unrelenting in support of the American worker, Pence said.
— Vice President Pence (@VP) June 20, 2017
“American manufacturers have not been this optimistic in 20 years,” Pence said, adding:
Confidence is back, manufacturing is back because since Day One of this administration, President Donald Trump has been fighting for manufacturers and the men and women who work on your factory floors and he’ll keep fighting every day to lead an American manufacturing renaissance. I promise you that.
Michel, Heritage’s tax policy expert, was heartened by Ryan’s resolve to deliver on tax reform.
“It was a great outline for tax reform,” Michel said. “He articulated the dire need for reform and how updating the tax code can help all Americans. I was encouraged that the speaker is still committed to getting tax reform done this year.”