Over the past few weeks, congressional Republicans and the administration have started speaking more often about their long-held goal of comprehensive tax reform. On September 27, the “Big Six” – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn – will release their much anticipated “framework” for comprehensive tax reform.
As part of this framework, the Big Six are expected to target key county priorities as “offsets” for lowering individual and corporate tax rates. Lawmakers are considering eliminating both the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, which includes the deductibility of local property taxes, and the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds as they pursue a new 20 percent corporate tax rate. New target rates on the individual side of the code have not been set.
This framework will be the first published tax reform blueprint since the administration released a one page outline back in April. The new framework will likely be more detailed than previous documents, though Chairman Brady said in a press release on September 25 that a comprehensive tax reform plan would not be unveiled until “after the budget is completed by the House and the Senate.” Ultimately, this sets the stage for congressional Republicans to use the budget reconciliation process to pass tax reform, a strategy they also pursued for health care reforms earlier this year that allows legislation to pass the Senate with a simple majority vote.
Take action: House Republicans will meet this Wednesday, September 27 to review the Big Six’s plan and offer their commentaries and critiques. Call your representative now and urge them to support both the SALT deduction and tax-exempt municipal bonds during this meeting, especially if they are on the House Ways and Means Committee. The following resources are available to help you engage your member of Congress:
- A new coalition website for Americans Against Double Taxation, formed to preserve the SALT deduction
- A report from the Government Finance Officers Association, which details SALT deduction figures by congressional district in the appendix
- County-by-county and state-by-state SALT deduction profiles from NACo’s County Explorer
- A core messaging document on the SALT issue
- A Myths-vs.-Facts sheet to help dispel rumors and talking points about the SALT deduction
- A NACo County News article with more detail on the importance of the SALT deduction
- State profiles of the impact of eliminating the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds
- NACo’s municipal bonds toolkit, with sample op-eds, talking points, and more
For more information or questions, please reach out to Jack Peterson, NACo Associate Legislative Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-661-8805.