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Tax Reform Drops Down Bush’s List Of Priorities

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

30 December 2004


Reforms of the US tax code pledged by George W. Bush will take a back seat to an overhaul of the social security system during the President’s second term, recent reports emanating from Washington have suggested.

If the reports are true, this will mean that tax reform is likely to be undertaken in smaller, incremental stages starting from 2006, rather than as a more ambitious root and branch reform of the tax system.

"I think the president signaled that he is going 'incremental' on tax reform, not radical," one former policy aide revealed in a Washington Post report.

This is also a view shared by many commentators and lobbyists, such as Dan Danner, senior vice president for public policy at the National Federation of Independent Business.

"The presumption is that revolutionary changes in the tax code are likely not an option now given the budget deficit and given the challenges of doing this in addition to Social Security," noted Danner.

However, while continuing to hold its cards close to its chest on the issue, the White House has sought to play down speculation that tax reform has been forced lower down the administration’s list of priorities by social security reform and a budget that may call for cuts in non-defense spending to bring down the federal deficit.

Briefing reporters in Texas, White House spokesman Trent Duffy stated that “no options are off the table or on" regarding taxation, adding that Bush remains “committed to reforming our tax code.”


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