U.S. PIRG Statement on Big Six Tax Reform Framework

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Statement from U.S. PIRG Tax and Budget Advocate Michelle Surka on latest framework for Republican tax reform:

“The latest tax framework released by the Republican “Big Six” offers tax cuts for many people, but no reasonable plan to pay for them. They claim we can cut trillions of dollars in taxes without adding to the deficit and debt. To back up their claim, they rely on economic growth projections rejected by the vast majority of economists. That’s either naive or reckless. Future generations may find their refusal to grapple with the ecological and other problems likely to result from a blind commitment to economic growth at any cost to be even more irresponsible.

“Instead of exploding the deficit, U.S. PIRG has outlined a few options for spending and tax reforms that could off-set any tax cuts. First, there is substantial waste and inefficient spending lurking in our federal budgets– in one report, we found over $263 billion worth of savings over ten years just by cutting redundant, inefficient, and outdated spending. A 2015 Pentagon audit found $125 billion in administrative waste, suggesting that there are even more opportunities to responsibly decrease spending.

“Second, closing corporate tax loopholes that allow the biggest and most profitable corporations to pretend their U.S. profits are earned in tiny no-tax island nations would inject some much needed common sense into our tax code and provide an influx of tax revenue that would help balance out the costs of the Republican tax priorities.  Rather than switching to a territorial tax system and seeing just how quickly U.S. profits can vanish from our shores and into tax haven jurisdictions, we should instead end deferral entirely and ensure that corporations aren’t incentivized to dodge their taxes.

“Finally, there have been some innovative suggestions for pairing a carbon tax with substantial tax cuts for businesses and families. Such a plan would allow us to sustainably cut tax rates while pursuing another worthwhile goal– lowering carbon emissions– all while ensuring that our deficit doesn’t balloon and we can still fund the most vital public programs.

“This Republican framework plan, as outlined, would either rely on unsustainable projections for endless economic growth or would bloat our deficit further. Tax reform should come paired with a pay-for at the get-go, rather than considering paying for tax cuts as a secondary step.”