MY VIEW: Tim Penny

Yesterday, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) and Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) kicked off their summer tour of the country in order to bring the tax reform debate to the American public. The tour started in St. Paul, Minnesota, and two former Minnesota Congressmen are excited that tax reform could be a real possibility.

CRFB board member and former Congressman Tim Penny (I-MN) co-authored a piece in the Pioneer Press yesterday with former Senator Mark Kennedy (R-MN) on the new developments. Penny and Kennedy praised the leaders of the tax reform effort, especially the recent decision from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to use a "blank slate" approach similar to the "Zero Plan" included in the Fiscal Commission's recommendations. They write:

Eliminating all tax preferences in the past allowed us to reduce the top two rates to 23 percent while setting aside a small portion of the savings for deficit reduction. Starting with a clean slate, and requiring those who wish to add back tax preferences to pay for them with rate increases, would lead politicians to subject tax expenditures to much greater scrutiny and, if desired, then to restore worthwhile tax expenditures in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.

The decision by Sens. Baucus and Hatch to use this approach makes us hopeful that Washington can enact tax reform to attain lower rates, level the playing field, improve simplicity, promote robust economic growth, and reduce the deficit.

This is a positive first step, and the bipartisan support for this approach is especially encouraging. Penny and Kennedy call for lawmakers not only to make the code simpler and better for growth, but to also do something about our debt problem:

We see this as an notable case of bipartisanship and hope that other leaders in the House and Senate will rise to the challenge and act responsibly in using the savings from eliminating the $1.3 trillion in annual "tax expenditures" to lower rates in a progressive manner, reduce the deficit, and restore those tax provisions they consider worthwhile in a more efficient, cost-effective manner.

Now is the time for D.C. to get their act together and make this type of action the new norm. Our nation's future and the lives of our children depend on it.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

"My Views" are works published by members of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, but they do not necessarily reflect the views of all members of the committee.