Tax Writers Promise Transparency in Reform Efforts

Monday, 08 Apr 2013 11:39 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Two senior members of Congress on opposite sides of the aisle say they are working together to deliver the first comprehensive overhaul of the tax code in 25 years and are promising the process will be transparent and open to the public.

"While we are from different political parties, we agree that America's tax code is broken," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp wrote Monday in a joint op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal. "That is why we have been working together as the chairmen of Congress's two-tax writing committees to make it fairer for families and spark a more prosperous economy."

Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and Camp, a Michigan Republican, stressed their dedication to working transparently. "No cutting deals behind closed doors," they wrote, adding that they intend to allow the public to participate directly by encouraging input through social media.

Baucus and Camp said they agree on three fundamental principles to ensure that any changes in the tax code support a growing economy. They say they are focusing on simplifying the system for middle class families, boosting the competitiveness of U.S. companies by adjusting the corporate tax, and making sure there's parity for small businesses.

They also stressed the importance of keeping politics out of the process if possible, noting that they expect pressure from all sorts of special interests and parties.

"There are skeptics who question the prospects for bipartisan tax reform. We know we face some fierce headwinds. People from across the spectrum are trying to turn tax reform into a political weapon, which could end up killing any chance at success," the two said, adding: "We can't let that happen."

The two chairmen have been working together at reform efforts for two years, a process that has included more than 50 hearings and input from hundreds of experts.

"Our many short walks to each other's offices have practically worn a path in the marble floors of the U.S. Capitol. Yet they serve as a reminder that through hard work and perseverance, you can wear down even the hardest of stones," the chairmen said.

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