Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
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Resources for Tax Reform

Dec 12, 2017 | Taxes

Efforts to reform the tax code are underway, and the legislative process is in full swing. CRFB has been tracking and compiling the scores of each bill and the framework as they've been released. The table below shows the most up-to-date scores for the date of this publication.

Scoring Organization Conventional Score
(10-year, billions)
Dynamic Score
(10-year, billions)
Impact on
Average GDP Growth
Senate Tax Bill (Passed by Senate 12/2/17)
Joint Committee on Taxation (dynamic score*) $1,447 ~$1,000* <0.08%*
Tax Policy Center $1,447 $1,260 0.004%
Penn Wharton Budget Model $1,666 $1,225 to $1,447 0.05% to 0.10%
CRFB True Cost (without gimmicks) ~$2,000 ~$1,600 <0.08%*
House Tax Bill (Passed by House 11/16/17)
Joint Committee on Taxation (dynamic score) $1,437 $1,008 ~0.10%
Tax Foundation* $1,984 $1,076^ 0.31%^
Tax Policy Center $1,437 $1,266 0.03%
Penn Wharton Budget Model $1,840 $1,470 to $1,697 0.04% to 0.09%
CRFB True Cost (without gimmicks) $1,948 n/a n/a
Senate Tax Bill (Approved by committee 11/17/17)
Joint Committee on Taxation (dynamic score) $1,414 $1,007 <0.08%
Tax Policy Center $1,412 $1,233 0.002%
Penn Wharton Budget Model* $1,641 $1,271 to $1,522 0.03% to 0.08%
CRFB True Cost (without gimmicks) $1,949 n/a n/a
Past Versions
Tax Foundation on Senate bill before markup $1,775 $516^ 0.36%^
Tax Policy Center on Unified Framework $2,416 $2,364 to $2,471 -0.01% to 0.03%
Penn Wharton Budget Model on Unified Framework $1,505 to $4,021 $1,017 to $3,492 0.14% to 0.16%
American Action Forum on plan based on Unified framework $1,100 $411 to $439 0.22%^ to 0.25%^

*denotes estimate is of a similar, though not identical, prior version. ^Estimate does not take into account the economic effect of higher debt.These numbers includes outlay effects, which Penn Wharton does not include in its dynamic revenue estimate.

CRFB has also published several resources on recent tax reform plans, policies that may be included, gimmicks lawmakers may use, the status of the current tax code, and other tax issues. Below are links to each of these publications, which will also be updated as new analyses are published.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Tax writers in the House and Senate have each introduced their own version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Both bills propose major changes the to the tax code, but would add at least $1.5 trillion to our already unsustainable national debt.

Recent Tax Reform Plans

There have been several tax reform plans released by various policymakers, including one by the Trump campaign, a broad framework released by the White House in April, and the House GOP "Better Way" plan released by House Speaker Paul Ryan last year.

Fiscal Responsibility

Tax reform should be used to improve the nation's fiscal situation, not worsen it.

Economic Growth

While well-designed reform can increase growth, tax cuts do not pay for themselves. Legislation should also be realistic and only use growth estimates from Congress's official scorekeepers – the Joint Committee on Taxation and Congressional Budget Office. Tax reform that dramatically increases deficits or includes retroactive or temporary tax changes are unlikely to have a large growth impact.

Specific Provisions

The tax code has $1.6 trillion of annual tax expenditures, many of which could be eliminated or made more efficient in order to finance tax reform. Our below Tax Break-Down series describes many of these provisions, listing arguments for and against, and options for reform.

The Tax Break-Down

Our Tax Break-Down series takes a closer look at tax breaks one at a time, showing their cost, describing who benefits from them, providing arguments for and against keeping them, and offering options to repeal or reform them.

Budget Process

Tax reform will likely be considered under reconciliation, a procedure that allows legislation to pass with a simple majority (50+1 votes) in the Senate rather than 60 votes. However, reconciliation also comes with other restrictions, such as not being able to increase the long-term deficit or make changes unrelated to the budget.

Gimmicks

Tax reform should be fiscally responsible and avoid using gimmicks that can make it appear more responsible than it is.

Tax Facts

When considering a major overhaul of the tax code, it is important to keep several facts about the U.S. tax system in mind.

Fiscal FactChecks

Too often, politicians tell voters what they want to hear rather than what they need to know. The Fiscal FactCheck series evaluates claims made with fiscal implications to separate fiction from reality.

 

Last Updated 12/12/2017

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