Congressional Democrats may have a difficult time convincing their Republican counterparts to look at an overhaul of the U.S. tax code this year as GOP lawmakers eye the elections in November, an SNR Denton lobbyist said Thursday.
Speaking as part of a firm teleconference on the outlook for tax reform, SNR Denton senior managing director Matthew Lapinski said he sees "very little motivation" from Republicans to work on an overhaul this year when the legislative and executive branches could be in GOP hands in 2013. The last major overhaul of the tax code occurred in 1986.
“Obviously there is a lot of question politically about what the world is going to look like,” he said. “But I would still imagine there’s going to be the desire to wait until a lame-duck [session of Congress] to see what the playing field looks like to handle a lot of these big issues.”
SNR Denton partner John Harrington, who also spoke on the teleconference, said he expects Congress to devote much of its time this year on work related to expiring tax provisions. The measures include the payroll tax reduction, which expires Feb. 29, and the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, which run out at the end of this year.
“They’re going to take up a lot of focus,” he said.
Despite the obstacles to overhauling the tax code in the coming months, lawmakers this year still may put out legislation that has a tax reform label, Harrington said.
The SNR Denton partner said lawmakers want to call anything they do reform “because from a salesmanship standpoint, it sounds better, and if nothing else, no one thinks they are making the tax code worse.”
“Tax reform is always in the eye of the beholder,” Harrington said.