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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tan Analysts: Bush Ready to Name Tax Reform Panelists This Week

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From this morning's Tax Notes Today:

President Bush in the coming days will name panelists to a bipartisan tax reform commission charged with reporting recommendations to the Treasury Department, according to White House Press Secretary Trent Duffy.

The panel is expected to report its findings to Treasury as early as possible in 2005, and those suggestions are expected to guide the Treasury secretary in making reform recommendations to Bush not long after. But it is unclear when Bush will launch a full-scale tax reform effort given he also hopes to reform Social Security. Some observers on the Hill have speculated that tax reform is likely to take a backseat until Bush has pushed proposals to add private accounts to Social Security. Duffy did not detail a timetable, saying only that Bush "remains committed" to the goal of tax reform. "Americans spend too much time sitting at the dinner table doing their taxes," Duffy said. Duffy also would not speculate on whether Bush would push for modest changes to the current code or for fundamental overhaul, saying only that the first step of the process is to let the advisory panel "explore and determine ways in which the tax code could be reformed to help our economy, to help efficiency, to help job creation."

As for panel members, some of the candidates named in media reports as likely reform panel members said they are not expecting invitations from Bush. Former House Ways and Means Committee Chair and retail sales tax advocate Bill Archer speculated that the panelists will not be household names known for endorsing a specific reform plan. Neither Archer nor former House Majority Leader and flat tax advocate Richard K. Armey -- another name frequently mentioned as a contender for the commission -- said they are expecting wholesale overhaul as a result of the tax reform effort.

(Also available on the Tax Analysts web site at 2004 TNT 250-1.)

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