Since first becoming Chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, Dave Camp has been and continues to work on a comprehensive tax reform bill that makes the code simpler and fairer in order to strengthen the economy, create more jobs and better take home pay for American workers. Lately, he's gaining momentum.
Under Camp's direction, the Ways and Means Committee has held over 20 tax hearings, organized bipartisan working groups to address specific areas of the tax code and released three pieces of draft tax reform legislation (one modernizes an international tax system that dates back to the 1950s and 60s; another targets abuses and gaming of the tax code by Wall Street; and, the most recent simplifies the tax code for small businesses -- where over half the private sector is employed).
A hallmark of Camp's effort has been inviting the American people and stakeholders to submit testimony to hearings and provide comments to the working groups and on draft legislation. Due to both the kind of tax reform Camp is pursuing and how he is going about rewriting the tax code, people on the right, left and center are praising his work.
For example, Camp has won praise from conservative groups such as Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and Club for Growth. The President of the Club, Chris Chocola, recently said:
"Chairman Camp deserves credit for attempting to tackle tax reform using pro-growth principles, despite opposition from President Obama and the liberals who simply want tax increases. Lowering marginal rates in conjunction with closing loopholes and deductions would kick-start the economy. The tax code is littered with special-interest preferences that distort the free market and hold the American economy back. We hope Chairman Camp and the Ways and Means Committee members develop a new tax code that is as flat and fair as possible."
Meanwhile, on the other end of the political spectrum, Steven Rosenthal with the liberal leaning Tax Policy Center commented:
"Last year, Camp tackled international tax reform. His latest proposal to simplify financial taxes is another big step forward The road toward tax reform will be long, but kudos to Camp for what he has done so far."
The national media are also taking note of Camp's work. Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel recently wrote:
"In Virginia Tuesday, President Obama stood before roaring crowds and clicking cameras to act out his latest sequester melodrama. About the time he finished, a lone Michigan congressman sat down in a quieter Capitol Hill conference room to unveil the real news of the week.
"The politico: Dave Camp, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. His subject: tax reform. The news--which by rights overshadows sequester, the Oscars, maybe even the pope's resignation--is that Republicans are not only doing a tax rewrite this year, but making it their signature policy initiative. Maybe the GOP is tired of losing after all."
Below is a sampling of the reaction Camp is getting to the specific discussion drafts he has already proposed.
Small Business Draft
Most recently, Camp released draft legislation to address the burden the tax code imposes on small businesses. The small business draft aims to help small businesses expand, hire new workers and increase pay and benefits. According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, tax compliance costs are 65 percent higher for small businesses than big businesses. And on top of that, because owners often lack tax expertise, nine-in-ten small business owners rely on an outside tax preparer.
The discussion draft contains several core components that simplify tax compliance for small businesses and provide certainty with respect to the ability of small businesses to recover certain costs immediately. In response to the release, groups from around the country praised Camp's effort.
International Franchise Association:
"[T]he Camp draft would benefit the majority of America's 825,000 Main Street franchise small business owners by simplifying pass-through rules for S-Corps, LLCs and partnerships. By doing so, the Camp proposal would reduce compliance costs and provide greater certainty to the more than 8 million employees across the country who wake up every day and go to work in the franchise industry and those Americans who aspire to become franchise business owners."
National Federation of Independent Business:
"Chairman Camp has shown an unwavering commitment to pursuing tax reform in a comprehensive manner. This is important, since more than three-quarters of small business pay taxes on business income at the individual rate. Chairman Camp's focus on making the tax code fairer and simpler for not just big businesses, but also small businesses, is commendable."
Americans for Tax Reform:
"Ways and Means Small Biz Draft a Great Step Toward Reform .[T]he Ways and Means Committee is moving toward a system with an individual rate no higher than 25 percent .When this budget target is combined with the common sense small business tax reforms contained in the draft released today, it's easy to see how the groundwork is being laid for more robust economic growth and job creation."
Financial Products Draft
In February, Camp released a discussion draft on Financial Products to protect taxpayers by creating a fairer, simpler tax code and holding Wall Street accountable. As part of Camp's overall goal to make a simpler, fairer tax code while also lowering rates, the draft seeks to modernize tax rules to minimize Wall Street's ability to hide and disguise investments through the tax code. It also addresses the need to provide greater simplicity and uniformity to financial products tax rules.
The draft earned praise from both sides of the aisle. Following the release, law professor at the University of Southern California and former chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, Edward Kleinbard, said:
"Three cheers for Dave Camp. In contrast to prior experience, and in contrast to the administration, he's doing two useful things: He's doing a lot of hard work to come up with large-scale comprehensive tax reform packages, and he's doing it in an open and transparent way."
International Tax Reform Draft
In October 2011, Camp released his first tax reform discussion draft on the international tax system. If implemented, Camp's draft would lower tax rates and modernize our international system of taxation. This change, which virtually every one of America's foreign competitors has made, would encourage companies to not only bring profits back to America, but invest them here as well.
After releasing the draft, companies and business came out in support of the proposal including the Business Roundtable who said:
"Corporate tax reform will directly benefit the American workforce. By increasing the worldwide competitiveness of American companies and American workers, and attracting investment to the U.S., tax reform can be a tremendous jobs bill We look forward to working with Chairman Camp and the Congress to enact corporate tax reform. The sooner comprehensive corporate tax reform can be enacted, the better it will be for the economy."
The Obama administration even signaled support when then Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said simply:
"The goal is territorial." (Quoted in The Price of Politics, by Bob Woodward)