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Baucus and Camp diversify tax reform approach with new website

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The main driving forces behind tax reform attempts in the US Congress - Max Baucus and Dave Camp - have launched a new website to increase stakeholder engagement in the tax reform process.

The outgoing Senate Finance Committee and House Ways & Means Committee chairmen have created www.TaxReform.gov, which was developed with the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) and which will “serve as a platform for the American public to weigh in on tax reform”.

The move was inspired by Dan Rostenkowski, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee in 1986 – the last time comprehensive reform of the tax code was achieved. Rostenkowski invited the public to write to him if they supported his efforts to reform the tax code in conjunction with President Ronald Reagan. The Write Rosty campaign attracted more than 75,000 public responses.

“The kind of engagement the Write Rosty campaign sparked nearly 30 years ago is even easier today thanks to the internet and social media,” said Baucus and Camp in a joint statement. “That’s why the chairmen are launching TaxReform.gov and a @simplertaxes Twitter handle.”

The new bipartisan campaign received more than 1,000 submissions in the first 12 hours of the website being launched.

“America’s tax code today is complex, inefficient and acting as a brake on our economy. Chairman Camp and I believe it is in need of a serious overhaul,” said Baucus. “Over the past two years we’ve held more than 50 hearings and heard from hundreds of experts on how to fix the tax code, to make it simpler and fairer for families and spark a more prosperous economy. Now it’s time to hear from the most important stakeholders – the American people. Through the website TaxReform.gov and Twitter, all Americans will be able to weigh in and participate directly in the debate. We want to know what people think the nation’s tax system should look like.”

Camp, who has pledged to pass tax reform legislation during 2013, called for a thorough review and simplification effort.

The tax code is littered with special interest provisions that Washington has put in over the last 27 years. It is time to go line-by-line through the tax code and clean it up. There is no reason Americans should have to spend more than six billion hours and more than $160 billion every year just trying to comply with the tax code. Chairman Baucus and I believe in a tax code that is more effective and efficient. A simpler, fairer tax code will help families and will help strengthen our economy,” said Camp, inviting the public to share their views and experiences via the new platforms.

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