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PSCA Executive Reports

January 31, 2017

Tax Reform

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) have both indicated that tax reform is one of their top priorities for the 115th Congress.  The driving force behind tax reform is an effort to reduce corporate and individual income tax rates, and both Speaker Ryan and Chairman Brady have stated that they want tax reform to be revenue neutral. Rep. Brady recently said that tax reform would come with “significant trade-offs” and that “the only way to lower rates for everybody is to eliminate the hundreds of special tax provisions for some.”  

Chairman Brady has indicated that Committee Republicans have organized into a few informal tax reform working groups to examine issues raised by the House GOP's “A Better Way” blueprint, including the taxation of retirement plans.  Although we do not yet know the precise details, the blueprint made references to creating more general savings vehicles and reforming and consolidating the various types of retirement plans.  Chairman Brady also spoke about tax reform last week at both the Chamber of Commerce and Financial Services Roundtable.  He said that House Republicans have “gone bold on the reforms because many of them eliminate the need for [specialized tax expenditures].”  With respect to retirement savings, Chairman Brady said that the United States is “not a nation of Savers, but we need to be.”  He also explained that House Republicans are seeking to simplify retirement and other savings vehicles and move to “three or four more flexible” vehicles.  

Legislative language likely will not be public for months, but congressional Republicans also are starting to discuss the issues with the incoming Trump Administration.  Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently met for two hours with Incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, Stephen Bannon, Stephen Miller, Gary Cohn, and Jared Kushner to discuss the issue.  Speaker Ryan is a past Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and tax reform remains a personal priority for him.  Tax reform was also a topic of debate at the Congressional Republican retreat in Philadelphia on January 25-27 at which President Trump spoke.    

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