By Richard Rubin
What might make Congress revamp the U.S. tax code?
Try picking a date – Dec. 31, 2019 — when the code turns into a pumpkin, says Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.).
Mr. Goodlatte’s Tax Code Termination Act, which got an airing at a congressional subcommittee on Wednesday, would abolish the entire tax code except for payroll taxes, depriving the government of most of its revenue and the ability to pay for almost any program unless Congress came up with a replacement.
The bill, which has 130 co-sponsors (including one Democrat), is similar to bills passed by the House of Representatives in 1998 and 2000. It also would require a two-thirds majority to change that date, making it harder for Congress to do what it usually does and pass short-term extensions of expiring policies.
“It’s really designed to move tax reform to the front burner,” Mr. Goodlatte said. “I think it will focus the mind. That’s the goal.”
Rep. Jim Renacci (R., Ohio), wasn’t sold on the idea. He told Mr. Goodlatte that he shares his urgency but worries about the economic instability that would ensue if Congress put the tax code on a ticking clock.
“I’d be extremely concerned that we have a deadline and we don’t have an answer,” he said.