President Obama said Friday he would like to work with the incoming Republican-led Congress on tax reform next year.
Obama was asked if the new Congress presents a better opportunity for tax reform next year.
“I think an all Democratic Congress would have provided an even better opportunity for tax reform but I think talking to Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell that they are serious about wanting to get some things done. The tax area is one area where we can get things done,” Obama said at an end of the year press conference.
In the coming weeks leading up to the State of the Union address, Obama said there would be some conversations between both sides about tax reform principles at the staff levels.
“I’d like to see more simplicity in the system. I’d like to see more fairness in the system,” Obama said.
“Fairness, everybody paying their fair share, everybody taking responsibility I think is going to be very important. Some of those principles I’ve heard Republicans say they share. How we do that, the devil is in the details,” he added.
Obama connected corporate tax reform to infrastructure spending.
“We’ve got a lot of infrastructure we’ve got to rebuild in this country if we’re going to be competitive,” he said. “We are way behind and early on we indicated that there’s a way of us potentially doing corporate tax reform, lowering rates, eliminating loopholes so everybody’s paying their fair share and during that transition also provided a mechanism where we can get some infrastructure built,” he said.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the incoming chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said tax reform is “no longer optional, Mr. President, it is essential.”
“Sure, there are disagreements on the details that cannot, at this time, be overlooked. But, on the basic question surrounding the need for reform, people in both parties have reached the same answer: Reform is necessary and it needs to happen sooner rather than later,” he said in a floor speech on Tuesday.
John McKechnie, partner at the Washington advocacy firm Total Spectrum, said Hatch is sending a signal to the Senate and the tax community that he means business.
“I think credit unions should be particularly vigilant regarding tax reform in the first half of 2015—after that the chances begin to diminish. But early in the year, credit unions would be wise to cover all the exits,” he said.