President Obama said Friday he would like to work with theincoming Republican-led Congress on tax reform next year.

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Obama was asked if the new Congress presents a better opportunity for tax reform nextyear.

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“I think an all Democratic Congress would have provided an evenbetter opportunity for tax reform but I think talking to SpeakerBoehner and Leader McConnell that they are serious about wanting toget some things done. The tax area is one area where we can getthings done,” Obama said at an end of the year pressconference.

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In the coming weeks leading up to the State of the Unionaddress, Obama said there would be some conversations between bothsides about tax reform principles at the staff levels.

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“I'd like to see more simplicity in the system. I'd like to seemore fairness in the system,” Obama said.

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“Fairness, everybody paying their fair share, everybody takingresponsibility I think is going to be very important. Some of thoseprinciples I've heard Republicans say they share. How we do that,the devil is in the details,” he added.

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Obama connected corporate tax reform to infrastructurespending.

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“We've got a lot of infrastructure we've got to rebuild in thiscountry if we're going to be competitive,” he said. “We are waybehind and early on we indicated that there's a way of uspotentially doing corporate tax reform, lowering rates, eliminatingloopholes so everybody's paying their fair share and during thattransition also provided a mechanism where we can get someinfrastructure built,” he said.

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Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the incoming chairman of the SenateFinance Committee, said tax reform is “no longer optional, Mr.President, it is essential.”

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“Sure, there are disagreements on the details that cannot, atthis time, be overlooked. But, on the basic questionsurrounding the need for reform, people in both parties havereached the same answer: Reform is necessary and it needs to happensooner rather than later,” he said in a floor speech onTuesday.

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John McKechnie, partner at the Washington advocacy firm TotalSpectrum, said Hatch is sending a signal to the Senate and the taxcommunity that he means business.

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“I think credit unions should be particularly vigilant regardingtax reform in the first half of 2015—after that the chances beginto diminish. But early in the year, credit unions would bewise to cover all the exits,” he said.

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