Calling themselves “Max and Dave,” the top two tax writers in Congress, are starting a public-relations campaign for a simpler U.S. tax code.
Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Dave Camp, his counterpart on the House Ways and Means Committee, set up a website -- www.taxreform.gov -- and a handle on Twitter -- @simplertaxes -- to gather public support and input as they try to revise the U.S. tax system.
“A simpler, fairer tax code will help families and it will help strengthen our economy,” Camp said in a statement today. “But Washington doesn’t have all the answers. That is why we are joining together in a non-partisan way to invite you to weigh in on this debate.”
Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and Camp, a Michigan Republican, have been working to build momentum for significant tax changes. Camp has released draft legislation on international taxation, small businesses and financial products. Baucus has begun a series of closed-door committee meetings on a tax-code rewrite.
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They share a common deadline. At the end of 2014, Baucus will exit the Senate after 36 years and Camp’s term as Ways and Means chairman will expire.
They also have significant obstacles and divides between them. They disagree on whether some of the proceeds from limits on tax breaks should go toward deficit reduction or rate reduction alone.
And any revision of the tax system would mean higher taxes for some businesses and individuals, who would probably oppose a plan with those changes.
The pair conducted joint interviews with National Public Radio, USA Today and Fox News Channel.
Baucus and Camp are designing their public pitch as a 21st-century update of the “Write Rosty” campaign of Dan Rostenkowski, who was Ways and Means panel chairman at the time of the last major tax-code rewrite in 1986.
“We want to know what people think the nation’s tax system should look like and how we can make families’ lives easier,” Baucus said in a statement.
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