House Committee Debates Temporary Business Tax Provisions

The House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures held a hearing today on the Framework for Evaluating Certain Expiring Tax Provisions.  The Members of Congress questioned several economist witnesses on how to best analyze the value of expiring tax provisions, and by which metrics they should be judged.  Alex Brill, a Research Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, urged the committee to consider how a certain provision affects the economy as a whole as opposed to only examining the direct impact on the provision’s targeted industry.

The witnesses were unanimous in their dislike of temporary provisions, arguing that they create uncertainty for businesses.  Dr. Jim White of the Government Accountability Office advised the subcommittee to clearly define the goals of each program to determine its permanence.

Aaron Goldstein, the Undersecretary for Housing and Community Development in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, expressed the importance of continuing many credits before tackling tax reform, as they have a profound impact on the lives of many.  He cited the development of a new hospital in Holyoke, MA that has created many jobs and is an important factor in the revitalization of the city.

Members of the Subcommittee emphasized the need to analyze programs pragmatically and empirically, and stressed the gravity of their task in the greater context of comprehensive tax reform and tackling the budget deficit.