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Business Community Not Confident Tax Reform Will Pass in 2017

Posted on August 9, 2017 by Asha Glover

Many business professionals do not believe that comprehensive tax reform will occur in 2017, according to a recent Deloitte survey, despite constant reassurances from Congress and the White House.

Only 2.4 percent of the more than 3,100 tax, finance, and business professionals who participated in the poll said they were very confident that a tax reform bill would be enacted before the end of the year, compared with 49.1 percent who were doubtful. Almost a quarter of those polled said they were not at all confident, which was the next level below “doubtful” in the survey. 

The House, Senate, and White House have consistently set the end of 2017 as a deadline for accomplishing tax reform. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, R-Texas, promised July 24 that House Republicans would unveil their comprehensive tax reform plan when they return to Washington from their August recess.

The “Big Six” group of senior Republicans in Congress and the White House have been touting the progress they’ve made coalescing behind a series of unified tax reform principles, including reducing tax rates on both individuals and businesses, allowing for “unprecedented capital expensing,” and simplifying the tax code.

The group — which consists of Brady; House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn — also agreed to drop the controversial border-adjustable tax proposed in the House GOP “Better Way” tax reform blueprint.

Less than 6 percent of those polled in the Deloitte survey believe the border-adjustable tax would have likely boosted U.S. economic growth.

While 38.9 percent of people polled considered a 25 percent top corporate rate the most likely under current political conditions — and 31.2 percent predicted the 20 percent corporate rate proposed in the GOP blueprint — the White House and Congress have floated a number of rates. President Trump has repeatedly pushed a 15 percent rate, which was favored by 5.3 percent of those polled. Brady has said that a 28 percent rate would be too high, and Hatch has said that he would like to see a rate of 25 percent or less, though he ultimately wants a 15-20 percent rate if possible.

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