Calvin Johnson has fifty ways to raise $1 trillion in taxes without raising rates, and he wants to convince Congress to adopt them. Now, he may get his chance. Johnson, the Andrews & Kurth Centennial Professor at the Law School, was recently awarded a fellowship at the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution based in Washington, D.C. The Tax Policy Center provides analysis for both policymakers and the public, and has a team of world-class budget and tax economists.
“It’s a chance to talk tax intensely with very good people,” Johnson said of his colleagues. “They are at the top of their profession, so I can’t tell you how much fun I think that opportunity will be.”
Johnson will use his fellowship, which began May 1 and runs through December 31, 2011, to continue his work on the Shelf Project. This is a collaborative effort with other tax professionals to develop proposals that Congress can simply “pull off the shelf” when it needs to increase revenues.
“I’ll be spending a lot of time talking to staff on both the Republican and Democratic sides,” Johnson said. “They will help me reshape the Shelf Project to be of maximum service to Congress when it’s ready to raise taxes. It’s not ready to raise taxes yet, but the time is coming—there is an impending budget catastrophe. Now is the time that the staffers should be doing the legwork, [preparing] the contingencies.”