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The Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) recently sent a letter to their Senate colleagues regarding their plans for consideration of comprehensive tax reform. In their letter, Senators Baucus and Hatch said they would approach tax reform as a “blank slate,” assuming that all preferences and deductions were removed from the tax code. They invited their colleagues to submit letters to them urging the retention in the tax code of deductions or preferences that each individual senator believed should remain. The deadline imposed by the senators for their colleagues to submit their recommendations is Friday, July 26th.
As you can imagine, everyone in the business community interested in tax reform – or in protecting something in the tax code – has been busy for the last two weeks contacting Senate offices to attempt to identify Senators willing to submit a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member to advocate for a particular tax interest.
Members of the LIFO Coalition have personally contacted dozens of Senate offices in this “blank slate” initiative. We found – as did many others engaged in the process – that not very many senators planned to send specific letters, and in many cases those that did plan to send a letter had not made a final decision about its content. In many cases, senators were opting instead of a letter to verbally contacting the Chairman and Ranking Member to convey their preferences. In a smaller number of cases senators were declining to provide feedback to the Committee leaders at all until they had more knowledge of the basic outlines of a Baucus/Hatch bill (i.e., will the legislation be revenue neutral or will it raise new tax revenue, and what income tax rates are the committee leaders considering).
We are confident that several senators will advocate for retention of LIFO in the tax code, either verbally or in letters. More importantly, this effort has allowed us to reach senate offices we had not previously contacted to urge their support for LIFO.
In addition to Hill visits, the Coalition has sent its own letter to all Senators (except Baucus and Hatch) urging their support for LIFO and introducing/explaining LIFO to those who may not be aware of its importance.
You can read the Coalition letter here: