'Blank-slate' tax reform is a worthy idea

  • Article by: Editorial Board , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 7, 2013 - 10:01 PM

Push by Baucus and Camp is a welcome bipartisan, bicameral effort.

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jim2011beamJul. 7, 1311:41 PM

Blank slate tax reform? Really? OK, here's how to do it: (1) eliminate all tax deductions (itemized, standard, personal) on individual tax returns gradually over 5 years, (2) give every individual a 20% tax credit for any type of interest, dividend, capital gain or other investment income up to $25,000 annually, (3) to pay for previous item, eliminate lower tax rates for dividends and capital gains, (4) to eliminate double taxation under 3, eliminate all corporate income taxes for any company that distributes 75% or more of annual profits to shareholders and (5) lower income tax rates so that the Federal Government receives about the same amount of income tax revenue from individuals and corporations as it does today. For all you deep thinkers out there, here are a few clues as to why you want this: (1) Simplification. Wealthy individuals get most tax deductions so elimination means wealthy individuals will pay more, (2) Did you earn $100 on savings and a CD and pay $15 in taxes on that? This credit will give you $20. (3) again the wealty will pay more. (4) No corporate taxes means the wealthy will pay more income tax and there will be no arguments about corporate tax deductions. (5) Lower tax rates. Everybody loves them. Remember folks, I didn't tell you everything. Get out a pencil and paper and your 1040 from last year and figure these items out for yourself. You'll be pleasantly surprised by a simpler income tax form, incentives to save for emergencies and slightly lower taxes if you are middle class. Good luck.

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norselandcJul. 8, 13 5:03 AM

Interesting ideas, but so is utopia.

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garagewineJul. 8, 13 8:14 AM

We've heard this song and dance before. Don't expect much.

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briechersJul. 8, 1312:41 PM

Moving expenditures out of the tax code should be one standard of successful reform. There are elements of the flat tax and the fair tax that make sense to me. So, maybe a constitutional amendment for the income tax that caps the rate at 15 or 20% for all earnings above $500,000 and a fair tax approach for all other federal taxes to be raised....eliminating social security tax, unemployment insurance tax and medicare taxes. I would eliminate corporate taxes income taxes and let the folks who benefit from corporate income pay their taxes accordingly.

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EleanoreJul. 8, 1312:50 PM

It's really the best way to do it. Start with the constitution to learn what constitutes just and lawful taxation, then realize and accept that governments are just as bound by the laws of nature, of feast and fammine, as individuals are, then tax the nations bounty at whatever rate is necessarry to pay for needs and whatever level of amenities we decide we must afford, then move on to the enforcement method.

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tommyloopJul. 8, 13 1:03 PM

I think I get what the US Congress is thinking about. Give more tax breaks to business owner sponsors and stick it to consumers and working class Americans? Sounds good unlees you are a working class, taxpaying American.

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hjlazniJul. 8, 13 2:05 PM

zero income tax replaced by 1. Transaction tax for any exchange of money for goods or services and 2. an asset tax on assets not utilized to produce jobs and economic growth. The monopoly game in real life doesn't play well if a few hold most of the assets and do not participate or lend to further job creating activity.

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scubadoo68Jul. 8, 13 2:16 PM

I start with a blank slate and tax individuals and businesses a certain percentage and call it quits. You could reduce the size of the IRS significantly. The government would know what they'd be getting every year and then could budget responsibly and you wouldn't have to race to finish your tax return.

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wplettfanJul. 8, 13 2:23 PM

Unfortunately, the idea that Republicans and Democrats could actually agree on how the new codes should read is but a pipe dream.

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EleanoreJul. 8, 13 2:33 PM

Income tax and optional use taxes are the only lawful methods of taxation. Government is not created or operated to facilitate commercial entities, or to sanction citizens who are free to use their property for things they choose, rather than jobs or economic activity. If persona A buys something from person B, government has no role in that transaction or avenue for taxation unless Person B is actually a licensed business. Starting over isn’t just doable, it’s preferable, and the key is going to be keeping every individual on the same scale under the code, as well as every business. Dollars in is the only figure that makes any difference and that is what people and businesses, all businesses, should be paying on. It should take a folded postcard to figure and report your tax at the end of the year. I’s think most people’s overall taxes would go down under a system like this.

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