Some more resources on tax reform (11/18/07)

Cartoon by the Akron Beacon Journal’s Chip Bok.

The Volvo is having mechanical problems. Spent the few hours I had before my ride back to Newport finishing the article for llrx. Here are some resources on tax reform that my readers may find of interest, in addition to the Vanity Fair article I posted yesterday.

Congressional Research Service has a reports, many available through the efforts of OpenCRS. These include:

The Center for Public Policy Priorities has a number of publications looking at the issues raised by the Rangel tax bill here. Additionally, the The Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution has the following resources available:

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) does not intend to support a carried interest tax this year in the Senate, according to The Washington Post’s Jeff Birnbaum writing October 9 in “Buyout Firms to Avoid a Tax Hike.” He detailed extensive lobbying aimed at achieving this result by “more than 20 lobbying firms, including the capital’s two largest, Patton Boggs and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Former senator John Breaux (D-La.) is on the case for Patton Boggs. Akin Gump’s team includes Kenneth B. Mehlman, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee. Also on retainer to private-equity firms are former senator Don Nickles (R-Okla.) and many former congressional aides.”

Birbaum adds that, “Private-equity firms have already distributed at least $5.5 million in lobbying fees, quadruple what they spent in all of 2006, according to Bloomberg News.” Additionally, “Some of the most prominent executives in the industry have made the rounds of senior lawmakers in recent months. Among those seen on Capitol Hill were former commerce secretary Peter G. Peterson of Blackstone Group and David M. Rubenstein of Carlyle Group.”

According to Birnbaum, the financiers have received help from business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and real estate trade groups such as the Real Estate Roundtable who “have sent letters to lawmakers and testified before congressional committees against the tax increase because it would also impact the managing partners of their developers.”

The conservative Cato Institute has argued that increasing the tax rate on carried interest is the first step to increasing capital gains. Financier Warren Buffet, has long argued, that he and others of his income bracket pay far too few taxes. In the coming months, it will be interesting to see which side prevails.



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