Trump promises to unveil tax reform plan as 100th day in office approaches

 

Aiming to blunt criticism over a lack of legislative achievements, president said businesses and individuals will receive massive tax cut but offered no details

Donald Trump plans to unveil a major tax reform package on Wednesday, aiming to blunt criticism over a lack of legislative achievements and his refusal to release his own tax returns.

Well be having a big announcement on Wednesday having to do with tax reform, the president said on Friday during a visit to the treasury department. The process has begun long ago, but it really formally begins on Wednesday. So go to it.

Steven Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, replied: All right, Mr President.

Earlier, Trump told the Associated Press that businesses and individuals will receive a massive tax cut in the plan. He did not give further details, saying only that the revamp will be bigger I believe than any tax cut ever.

The president had been expected to push for tax reform after repealing and replacing Barack Obamas healthcare legislation, but that effort crashed and burned in Congress. The details of the tax bill are likely to be complicated by the continued uncertainty over healthcare reform, which is currently being renegotiated.

Some commentators suggest that Trump is rushing the tax announcement to give his administration a shot in the arm before the symbolic marker of its 100th day. Mnuchin had initially set a target of passing tax reform bill by August and still hopes to get it done well before the end of the year.

But a repeat of the healthcare debacle is possible regarding tax. Republicans are split over issues such as a border adjustment tax on imports, while Democrats have vowed opposition until the president follows 40 years of tradition by making his own tax returns public.

The White House sought to build some momentum on Friday with an effort to examine and potentially dismantle some of Obamas tax and financial regulations.

Trump signed an executive order to review major regulations set last year and simplify Americas notorious tax filing process. He said: Such a big thing. People cant do their returns. They have no idea what theyre doing. Theyre too complicated.

This regulatory reduction is the first step toward a tax reform that reduces rates, provides relief to our middle class, and lowers our business tax, which is one of the highest in the world and has stopped us from so much wealth and productivity.

The White House claims that individuals and businesses currently spend 6.1bn hours collectively complying with the tax code, costing the US economy $234.4bn a year in time and expenses. The basic 1040 tax form has grown from 34 lines and two pages of instructions to 79 lines and 211 pages of instructions.

The review could give greater scope for companies looking to shelter income overseas, or simply seeking to reduce paperwork related to the enforcement of such regulations. It might also touch on overlapping rules designed to stop foreign-based companies from shifting their US profits abroad.

Watched by congresswoman Claudia Tenney of New York and Senator David Perdue of Georgia, the president put his name to two memos to possibly reconsider major elements of the 2010 Dodd-Frank reforms passed in the wake of the financial crisis and designed to stop banks from growing too big to fail and requiring public bailouts.

Im also issuing two directives that instruct Secretary Mnuchin to review the damaging Dodd-Frank regulations that failed to hold Wall Street firms accountable, Trump said. I mean, theyve done really, in many cases, the opposite of what they were supposed to. These regulations enshrine too big to fail and encourage risky behavior.

Trump spoke in the treasury secretarys third floor corner office at a lectern between the secretarys desk and a fireplace. A portrait of Alexander Hamilton, the first treasury secretary, looked down.

It was Trumps first visit to the department, which is located on the White House grounds. About 400 to 500 staff lined the steps on either side to greet him. He was followed by his daughter, Ivanka Trump; advisers Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller; and press secretary Sean Spicer.

I went through that beautiful hallway where those incredible paintings of past secretaries, and it was really very interesting, he mused. I want to read every one, I want to learn about every one of them, but we have one that I hope will go down as one of the greats.

He said to Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker and hedge fund manager: I think Hamilton is tough to beat, but maybe you can do that too. Well take it, right?

Hamilton, who died in a duel in 1804, has enjoyed a resurgence in popular culture thanks to Lin-Manuel Mirandas award-winning musical Hamilton. In November, Trump dismissed the Broadway hit as highly overrated after its cast addressed Vice-president Mike Pence with their concerns about the administration at the end of a show.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/21/trump-tax-reform-plan-first-100-days