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WASHINGTON-President George W. Bush issued an executive order Jan. 7 creating a panel to come up with suggestions on how to reform the nation’s tax laws. The advisory panel’s report is due to Treasury by July 31, 2005. The nine-member, bipartisan panel will serve without compensation and is comprised of former Senator Connie Mack (R-Fla.), former Senator John Breaux (D-La.), former Congressman William Eldridge Frenzel (R-Minn.), University of Southern California Professor of law Elizabeth Garrett (former legislative director and tax and budget counsel to former Senator David L. Boren (D-Okla.)), and former Federal Trade Commission Chairman Timothy J. Muris, among others. “The executive order did lay out some parameters,” CUNA Vice President for Legislative Affairs and Senior Legislative Counsel Gary Kohn explained. “While, on the one hand it said everything was on the table, on the other hand, the executive order suggested that there are certain things that the president wanted to focus on for protecting.” The executive order states that the options provided by the panel should aim to simplify the tax code to reduce costs and administrative burdens of compliance; share the burdens and benefits in an “appropriately progressive manner while recognizing the importance of homeownership and charity;” and promote long-term economic growth and job creation and “better encourage work effort, saving and investment.” Kohn added that it would likely be late fall before Treasury comes up with something concrete from the report. NAFCU Director of Legislative and Political Affairs Brad Thaler commented, “NAFCU will be taking a look and trying to work with members of the commission to help communicate the credit union message and make sure the credit union tax exemption is preserved as part of this process.”

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