Trump Scraps Campaign Tax Reform Plan

White House admits middle-class tax relief may be delayed until 2018, want 'to get this right'

by Jim Stinson | Updated 11 Apr 2017 at 7:09 AM

The Trump administration is already retreating from the president’s campaign plan to overhaul the nation’s dusty tax system, according to the Associated Press.

It’s unclear why Trump scrapped his tax plan, or even if change in direction is minor or major, according to the early Monday report by AP.

“I think when you put these pieces back together, it will look a lot like Trump’s original plan.”

The White House denied on Monday that it’s “back to the drawing board.”

But the Trump White House is reportedly looking for ways to pass an economy-stimulating tax law with solid consensus, while keeping the annual budget deficit in check. It’s a tall order. It’s also a reason why the 2017 timetable has been changed.

Because of all the players involved, it’s likely Trump’s campaign promises — such as getting rid of the Alternative Minimum Tax, and cutting corporate tax rates — were picked off one by one as the White House studied how to proceed.

Yet the Trump White House has not backed an official plan in the Congress, so starting over is not seen as the same kind of setback as when the House GOP could not muster enough votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, did not confirm AP’s report. But Spicer told reporters on Monday that the White House is talking to groups and “wants to get this right.”

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“This is going to be a major undertaking, and I think we want to make sure that we listen, have their ideas and their input as we move forward,” said Spicer. “But this is the beginning phases of that process.”

Spicer also said the White House and Congress will try to pass tax reform before the August recess, which was the original plan.

A tax plan passed before the August recess would likely provide tax cuts to families and businesses at this time of year in 2018. Spicer said the middle class can still look forward to that.

But there were other promises in the Trump tax plan, ones that go beyond middle-class tax cuts, that can still be found at DonaldJTrump.com.

One promise was cutting the corporate tax rate. The U.S. top tax rate is the highest in industrialized nations. Trump promised to cut the corporate tax rate "to 15 percent, taking our rate from one of the worst to one of the best."

Another promise was to get rid of the "death tax," or a tax on certain inheritances.

And Trump also promised to simplify the tax code, which is the main goal of tax reform. The last such major overhaul of the tax code was in 1986.

"Forty-two million households that currently file complex forms to determine they don’t owe any income taxes will now file a one-page form saving them time, stress, uncertainty, and an average of $110 in preparation costs," the Trump tax plan reads. "Over 31 million households get the same simplification and keep on average nearly $1,000 of their hard-earned money."

The decision to start work over has irked one of Trump's chief campaign advisers. One top economic adviser told AP that Trump already had a good tax plan.

"It's a little frustrating that they feel they have to write a new tax plan when they have a tax plan," said Stephen Moore, an economist at the conservative Heritage Foundation, who helped formulate tax policy for the Trump campaign.

But Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, told LifeZette he wasn't too worried about the new talks going on behind the scenes. Trump made some "big-picture" commitments, Norquist said, ones that he expects the president to circle back to.

"I think when you put these pieces back together, it will look a lot like Trump's original plan," said Norquist.

  1. Americans for Tax Reform
  2. Donald Trump
  3. Grover Norquist
  4. tax plan
  5. Tax Reform
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