Camp Tax Reform Plan Offers Big Leap Potential, but Some Steps Require Work

(Washington, DC) -- In response to the detailed tax reform proposal released today by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), National Taxpayers Union Executive Vice President Pete Sepp offered the following statement:

“The proposal offered by House Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) provides a solid foundation for building a better tax system, but now Congress must get to work on putting up the walls, ceilings, and windows on a structure that will keep meeting the standards of simplicity, fairness, and economic efficiency for all the taxpayers who will have to occupy it. As it currently exists, the Tax Code is an absolute nightmare for individuals and businesses.

“National Taxpayers Union’s most recent 'Taxing Trend' study shows that Americans spent 6.7 billion hours complying with the Code in 2012 at an estimated cost of $240.8 billion to our economy.

“Clearly, a major overhaul is long overdue and Chairman Camp’s draft will help move this national dialogue forward. Still, this conversation will involve many more questions and answers in coming weeks. Reducing the current seven individual income tax rates into three is a start toward simplification, but defining the concept of taxable income is where the most progress will be made. Sweeping away obsolete or distortionary credits or deductions, as this plan does, can result in such progress, but in some areas, it could also end up creating new distortions to the economy. These aspects, particularly in the sectors of energy, finance, high-tech, will have to be carefully explored, as will the plan’s impact on charitable giving.

“The proposal rightly aims to bring a measure of tax parity between 'pass-through' small business entities and traditional corporations, but how it hits that target must be thoroughly examined to ensure that job creators aren’t punished in the process.

“Furthermore, there’s the vital matter of timing: some tax-saving provisions for businesses will be gone several years before the final, beneficial 25 percent tax rate kicks in. Washington must avoid the appearance of clawing back many provisions in the short-term while pushing rate relief into the long-term.

“Some of the best parts of the Chairman’s draft would do away with counterproductive schemes such as the medicine cabinet tax and the medical device excise tax. Equally important, the mind-numbingly complex Alternative Minimum Tax would finally – and thankfully – be consigned to the wastebasket of bad tax policy. Although many Americans would rather see the whole Tax Code stuffed into that wastebasket, and replaced with a flat tax or consumption tax, there is at last hope that the most noxious weeds growing in our current system will be torn out by their roots.

“NTU applauds Chairman Camp for putting together a thoughtful blueprint that lawmakers in both parties can constructively review.  We hope to be part of a successful effort to refine this plan with an eye toward maximizing the benefits to taxpayers and spurring additional economic growth. It’s time for Congress, as well as the President, to actually get to work on making America’s Tax Code the envy of the world rather than the scourge of our own citizens and businesses.”

National Taxpayers Union, “The Voice of America’s Taxpayers”, is the nation’s oldest and largest taxpayer advocacy organization. For question, comment, or interview request, contact Doug Kellogg at (703) 299-8698 or