Washington (Sept. 8, 2004) -- The White House has begun filling in the details on President Bush’s campaign promise of fundamental tax reform.

During his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, President Bush promised to lead "a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code,” if he is elected to another term. The president promised to begin this effort by creating "a bipartisan panel to advise the Treasury secretary on options to fundamentally reform the tax code to make it simpler, fairer and pro-growth.”

The Bipartisan Advisory Panel on Tax Reform, to be created by executive order, will be asked to present revenue-neutral options to the Treasury, at least one of which should be a reform of the current individual income tax system. The president said that his goals are to make the tax code simpler and to increase long-run economic growth and job creations.

The White House said that the Bush-appointed panel would include "experts, economists, and economically knowledgeable and experienced people of both parties." The panel, which would be charged with holding public hearings and seeking input from members of Congress, would consult, debate and provide its advice and a report to the Treasury as early as possible in 2005, the White House said.

“I’m glad the president and congressional leaders are talking about it,” said Chris Edwards, director of tax policy for the Washington-based Cato Institute. "But to be cynical, we’re headed for a general election and tax reform is a topic that resonates with much of the electorate. I hope he will back it up with actual teeth.”

-- Roger Russell

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