Statements and Speeches
Hearing Statement: Getting to Yes on Tax Reform: What Lessons Can Congress Learn from the Tax Reform Act of 1986?
Feb 10 2015
WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement regarding the Senate Finance Committee hearing on "Getting to Yes on Tax Reform: What Lessons Can Congress Learn from the Tax Reform Act of 1986?"
"In recent weeks and months, we’ve received consistently encouraging news about our improving economy – just last week we learned the private sector has continued to create jobs for the 59th straight month. There are many great signs like this one that show our recovery is ongoing, but I recognize we have a lot of work to do to put more Americans back to work and create a nurturing environment for our country's businesses to succeed. Reforming our nation's tax system is a crucial part of this effort. We need a tax code that will help the United States out-educate, out-innovate, and out-compete every nation on Earth. That is not the tax system we have right now. I was a member of the House in 1986 when we last overhauled our tax code and I am hopeful we can use some of those successes to get a comprehensive tax bill across the finish line – a task that some see as seemingly impossible these days.
"Both the corporate and individual tax codes are in dire need of major overhaul. Both are riddled with inefficient loopholes and tax expenditures. Both are far too complicated and provide too many opportunities for some taxpayers to 'game the system' to avoid paying taxes. And both impose tax rates that are too high when compared to our international competitors.
"For that reason it is critically important that Congress work with the administration to enact comprehensive tax reform regardless of the political roadblocks.
"Whenever I consider proposals to reform our tax code, I look at the issue through a 'prism' of four questions. Will the proposal encourage economic growth and provide the certainty and predictability that families and businesses need in order to plan? Will it be fiscally responsible? Does it make the tax code simpler or more complicated? Lastly, I ask 'Is the proposal fair?'
"I was a supporter of the Bowles-Simpson plan, in part, because it adhered to these common sense guiding principles, but I am confident there are other approaches that could also fit this mold and gain bipartisan support.
"Today we are looking at tax reform in 1986 as a model, for good reason, but I think we'd also be smart to consider what could have been done differently in that effort. In the 29 years since, we've seen great erosion of the tax base and that has led us to where we are today – again in dire need of comprehensive reform. As much as possible, we need to focus on reform that has staying power.
"I often say a major role of government is to create a nurturing environment where businesses can grow and create jobs, while also playing by the rules and being good corporate citizens. Enacting comprehensive tax reform gives us a great opportunity to incentivize more companies to do business and create jobs in the United States because our markets are robust, access to capital and labor is plentiful, and our corporate governance model is transparent and effective.
"I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and the administration on this is a vital issue that affects every American, as well as our country’s our ability to pay our bills and to compete in a global economy."