House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp on Thursday focused fresh attention on one of the least-publicized but sure-to-be-controversial parts of his omnibus tax reform package: abolition of the 44-year-old Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
The AMT requires individuals, corporations, estates, and trusts to compute two sets of tax returns and levies taxes on incomes above a certain threshold.
Repealing the AMT, the Michigan Republican told Newsmax, "would mean, at the very least, that individuals and corporations would not have to compute their taxes twice." This would lead to what the chairman of the tax-writing panel called "a huge simplification."
During a press breakfast in Washington hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, "simplicity" was a word Camp used repeatedly in characterizing his recently released tax reform package.
Camp said that $160 billion was spent last year on compliance with the U.S. Tax Code, which he described as "ten times the size of the Bible with none of the good news."
In 2007, Ways and Means Committee member Phil English, R-Pa., called for abolishing the AMT, but was immediately attacked by critics who said ending the AMT would mean a major loss of revenue for the federal government.
Camp also said that "lowering to 25 percent what is now the highest corporate income tax rate in the world," which is also part of his plan, would increase economic growth and create greater revenue.
Camp said tax reform is "something I have always wanted to work on" because of his concern that "things are not going to get any better."
"Right now, we have a greater number of young people living at home than we have had in recent years because they are unable to find jobs that permit them to move out and start their own families," Camp said. "We're at the end of a lost decade. I don't want to see it become a lost generation."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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