Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said that the Committee will undertake a series of hearings examining why the tax code needs reform. The Finance leaders said they plan to look at ways to make the code more competitive and fair, while making it less complex. Baucus and Hatch announced they would hold a hearing titled "How Did We Get Here? Changes in the Law and Tax Environment Since the Tax Reform Act of 1986" on Tuesday, March 1. The hearing will examine how changes since the Tax Reform Act of 1986 have affected the tax code, including the globalization of the economy, innovations in technology, advancements in the financial services industry and growth of tax planning practices, and how the tax code has and has not responded.
- Five former Assistant Secretaries for Tax Policy will testify. The former top Treasury Department tax officers will be Fred Goldberg, Jonathan Talisman, Mark Weinberger, Pamela Olson and Eric Solomon.
- Baucus said, "Today there are just too many special benefits in the tax code for one industry or another. All those credits and deductions make our code so complicated that those with an army of lawyers and accountants can slim down their tax bill while others are left paying one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. We will hold a number of hearings to look at how this unbalanced tax code is a drag on the economy and what changes need to be made. All tax incentives, both personal and business, should produce the outcomes we intended, such as job creation and widespread economic growth. We need to figure out how to get rid of loopholes and simplify the system, so we can lower tax rates and keep our economy growing."
- Hatch said, "Our tax system is burdensome, overly complex and stifles American competitiveness. It needs to be reformed. I'm pleased to announce with Chairman Baucus that the Finance Committee will spend the next year fully examining our tax code. With these hearings, we hope to lay the ground work towards a comprehensive overhaul to ensure we are putting real pro-growth policies in place that will spur investment, economic expansion, and much needed jobs."