Former Senators Connie Mack and John Breaux, chairman and vice-chairman of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, have scheduled the panel's first meeting for Feb. 16, 2005. Witnesses will be Fred T. Goldberg, a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and a former commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service; Louis Kaplow, a professor of law and economics at Harvard Law School; William G. Gale, co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center; and Stephen J. Entin, president and executive director at the Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation. Treasury secretary John Snow will also appear before the panel. "The president has tasked our panel with developing reforms to make the tax code simpler, fairer and more growth-oriented," said Senator Mack. "I look forward to the opportunity to hear from Secretary Snow as well as this distinguished group of experts as we begin the process of examining the problem and formulating solutions." "The current tax system is an unfair burden on Americans," added Senator Breaux. "When it takes the average taxpayer 11 hours to fill out the short tax form, something is wrong. This is a unique opportunity to work in a bipartisan effort and find ways to make the tax system serve Americans better." The witnesses will provide the panel with a historical overview of the current tax system and an understanding of how it evolved and where it is today. The panel will also hear background about tax systems. In particular, the witnesses will explain the difference between a tax on income and a tax on consumption, how the different bases impact the overall functioning of the tax system, and the advantages and disadvantages of each one in terms of simplicity, fairness and economic growth.

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