Report: Close Corporate Tax Loopholes

Toward Common Ground for the Supercommittee

Bridging the Political Divide with Deficit Reduction Recommendations for the Super Committee
Released by: Arizona PIRG

As 2011 enters its final stretch, our nation faces enormous fiscal challenges. As part of the deal that was recently struck to raise America’s debt ceiling, Congress established a new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to narrow the total budget gap by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. This so‐called “Supercommittee” must report its findings by November 23, 2011 and if a majority of its 12 members support its conclusions, both houses of Congress will consider the resulting legislation under expedited procedures by December 23, 2011.

As a result, the next 100 days will mark a major turning point in America’s unsustainable fiscal trajectory. That’s why the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) and the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG) have joined together to propose to the Supercommittee and to Congress as a whole a list of more than 50 recommendations to reform our future spending commitments. If enacted in their entirety, these changes would save taxpayers more than $1 trillion over the coming decade.

While our organizations have often differed about the proper regulatory scope of government and a host of tax policies, we are united in the belief that we spend far too much money on ineffective programs that do not serve the best interests of the American people. This joint project is an attempt at identifying the “low hanging fruit” of waste and inefficiency in the federal budget, in hopes of transcending the ideological and partisan bickering that has helped to create the fiscal mess we see today. In a similar report submitted last year to the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, we outlined over $600 billion in spending reductions by that entity’s target date of 2015. Though many of our specific recommendations were incorporated into the “illustrative cuts” section of the Commission’s final report, Congress has largely failed to act on them and significant reforms remain as necessary as ever.

The recommendations in “Toward Common Ground 2011” touch every portion of federal expenditures, including entitlements, defense spending, wasteful subsidies, and a broad range of improvements to the efficiency and effectiveness of discretionary programs. They include large items, such as a $160 billion overhaul of federal information technology management, and small ones, like $10 million in spending on biodiesel fuel education grants. Each recommendation includes a ten‐year savings estimate backed up by authoritative sources such as the Congressional Budget Office, Government Accountability Office, Office of Management and Budget, or bipartisan working groups. They are specific, detailed, and actionable items that Congress could pursue right now to reduce spending and help meet its goal of $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction.

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