Tax Reform: `No Street Signs’

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

A Home Depot a store in Washington.

Generalities about the need to lower tax rates obscure the difficulty of rewriting the tax code — and the benefits of some of the oft-derided tax breaks, Representative Richard Neal said today.

Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, spoke in Washington to the RATE Coalition, a group of companies that backs a lower corporate tax rate and a broader tax base. The group’s members include The Home Depot Inc., Macy’s Inc., and United Parcel Service Inc.

Loose descriptions of tax breaks as “loopholes” ignore how important some of them are, Neal said. In particular, he praised the New Markets Tax Credit, saying it helped redevelop a theater in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in his district. He also said the research and development tax credit and the Build America Bonds program are important items that lawmakers should consider keeping as they work to expand the tax base.

Neal praised the efforts of Representative Dave Camp, the Republican chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, for providing a “road map” for overhauling the tax code.

“The problem,” Neil said, “is there aren’t any street signs.”


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