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Baucus, Camp Talk Tax Reform at Start of Road Trip

Image: Baucus, Camp Talk Tax Reform at Start of Road Trip

Tuesday, 09 Jul 2013 12:15 PM

By Courtney Coren

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The chairmen of the House and Senate committees responsible for financial policy are joining in a rare bipartisan move to promote their vision for tax reform.

Republican Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan and Democrat Sen. Max Baucus of Montana were in Minnesota Monday soliciting ideas from employees of two local businesses.

It marked the start of their summer tax-reform tour.

Camp chairs the House Ways and Means Committee; Baucus chairs the Senate Finance Committee. They are working on a major tax-code-overhaul bill that would lower and simplify individual and corporate tax rates.

The aim of going on the road is to get direct input from Americans about changes they would like to see.

At the 3M Innovation Center in Maplewood, Camp and Baucus spoke on the urgency of tax reform and took audience questions. 3M has said that it is willing to give up its tax breaks in exchange for a lower rate and a simpler tax code, Politico reports.

"Canada, with its 25 percent tax rate, is actually hurting us," one 3M employee said. "We are losing business that 3M should have here because a Canadian competitor can make it and ship it into the U.S. for cheaper than we can make it and sell it due to the tax rates."

House Republicans want to drop the tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, but Baucus questioned whether that could get through Congress: "To be honest, I think 25 percent is a bit of stretch."

Camp said he was encouraged by the visit with 3M that they are on the right path, the Pioneer Press reports.

"I think the average family should be able to fill out their own taxes without having a preparer," Camp said in his remarks. "That's virtually impossible now."

Camp and Baucus also visited family-run Baldinger Bakery in St. Paul, a company that supplies buns to McDonald's restaurants. Baldinger has benefited from tax breaks such as the new-market credit, designed to encourage investments in low-income areas. The company invested $4 million in a new factory in the high-unemployment East Side of the state capital.

Camp and Baucus have created a website and Twitter handle — https://taxreform.gov and @simplertaxes — where Americans can offer their opinions on tax reform .

The pair were to talk tax reform in an Irish pub in Washington on Tuesday and take their tour back on the road later in the summer.

However, The Wall Street Journal's Market Watch quotes one analyst saying there's less than a 50 percent chance of major tax reform passing before the end of 2014.

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