Wyden: "It's the first bipartisan tax bill in 25 years."
That’s right, Reagan. Wyden, the Democratic Senator who supports gun control and universal health care, wasted little time after offering his exuberant thanks to Intel to point out that under his Reagan-inspired bipartisan tax bill major employers such as Intel would pay significantly less in corporate taxes. In fact, he had the exact figure on the tip of his tongue: Intel’s federal tax bill would drop from $30 million to $24 million under Senate Bill 3018, the Bipartisan Tax Fairness and Simplification Act of 2010.
“It’s the first bipartisan tax bill in 25 years,” he said. “And it will make American companies more competitive.”
Wyden co-wrote SB 3018 with Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, a fiscal conservative who was President Obama’s first choice for Commerce Secretary but turned down the job. The bill would simplify the tax code by eliminating special-interest tax breaks, reducing the number of tax brackets from six to three and establishing a flat 24% corporate tax rate (thus the projected savings for Intel). It would also allow businesses with gross receipts of under $1 million to expense all equipment and inventory costs in a single tax year.
Wyden said he drew his inspiration from the Tax Reform Act of 1986 backed by former President Reagan and Democrats Dick Gephart and Bill Bradley, who cleaned a slew of tax breaks out of the code, only to have them replaced by thousands of new ones over the past quarter century. Given that tax breaks cost the federal government more than a trillion dollars per year in revenue, Wyden and Gregg argue that it is time to wipe the slate blank once again.
Their bill was first introduced in February with support ranging as far to the right as David Keene of the American Conservative Union and as far left as Portland activist Steve Novick. But bipartisan ideas didn’t get far in the months leading up to the November elections.
Now that the balance of power is more even, the bill is gaining support. Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission is taking a close look at tax reform, but it won’t be easy. Every tax break has its backers.