June 20,2013

Press Contact:

Sean Neary/Meaghan Smith
(202) 224-4515

Baucus Statement on Momentum Building for Tax Reform

As prepared for delivery

Mr. President, just outside this chamber is a bust of Theodore Roosevelt.  When I walk past it, I’m often reminded of one of my favorite T.R. quotes: 

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

For the past three years, I have been working with my colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee on comprehensive tax reform.  It has been hard work, but it has certainly been work worth doing.

We have had more than 30 hearings.  We have heard from hundreds of experts about how tax reform can simplify the system for families, help businesses innovate and make the U.S. more competitive.  Our efforts have been ramping up over the past several weeks, and we are starting to build momentum.

Senator Hatch and I have been working very closely with the members of the Finance Committee on a series of ten discussion papers examining key aspects of the tax code.  Each of the discussion papers studies a different aspect of the code.

We began back in March, with a discussion on “Simplifying the System for Families and Businesses.”

We then met as a full Committee every week the Senate has been in session to go through different topics in tax reform, presenting a range of options and gathering feedback and input.  

We concluded these meetings this morning with a discussion on “Non-Income Tax Issues.”

These meetings have been very beneficial.  We’re building trust and getting everyone’s buy-in. 

I’ve also been working for quite some time with my counterpart in the House, Chairman Dave Camp.  We have been meeting weekly, face to face, for more than a year now, discussing plans to overhaul the tax code.

Our shared goal is to make the code simpler and fairer for families and to spark a more prosperous economy.

Together, Chairman Camp and I recently launched a Web site, TaxReform.gov.  The site will enable us to get even more input and to hear directly from the American people.

We want to know what people think.  What should the nation’s tax system look like?  How can we make families’ lives easier?  How can we ensure a less burdensome tax code?

We’ve gotten close to 30,000 visitors to the web site and 10,000 submissions so far.  We’ve received ideas from every state in the nation.

Overwhelmingly, people are calling for a simplified tax code. 

David, from Redmond, Washington wrote: “I'm a retired lawyer and I can't prepare my own tax returns because of the technical and incomprehensible language of the code. I commend you and hope you are successful.”

Richard, in my hometown of Helena, Montana noted that the current tax code is outdated and does not work effectively or efficiently. He said, “It needs to be simple, effective and fair.”

Richard hit the nail on the head.  Over and over, that is what we are hearing – simple, effective and fair.

Chairman Camp and I will make a big push in the coming weeks to further engage our colleagues here in Washington as well as people all across America.

We’re going to travel across the country and meet with real Americans – individuals, families and business owners, big and small.

We want to hear directly from them about how we can improve their experience with America’s tax system.

We want to hear how we can make the system fairer and more efficient for families and businesses.

Momentum is building.  Now is the time for tax reform.  Working together, Congress can improve the tax code and update it for the 21st century.  Working together we can strengthen the code to spark economic growth, create jobs and make U.S. businesses more competitive.

Tax reform provides the chance to work hard at work worth doing.