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JCT Will Officially Score Tax Reform, Brady’s Office Confirms

Posted on October 3, 2017 by Luca Gattoni-Celli

The Joint Committee on Taxation will provide the official revenue estimates for tax reform legislation, a spokesperson for House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said days after committee Democrats pressed him on the issue.

After the “Big Six” Republican tax reform negotiators released their framework September 27, a White House spokesperson told Tax Analysts, “We will use the JCT model for purposes of scoring the [tax reform] bill and getting it through the House and Senate.”

Brady’s office echoed that stance October 2, days after House Democratic taxwriters sent a letter pledging to oppose advancing any tax plan “lacking a fully executed conventional revenue estimate from” JCT, rather than from the administration. 

Ways and Means ranking minority member Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., and other committee Democrats also called for JCT to provide all congressional lawmakers with distributional and macroeconomic analyses “and technical explanation of any major tax reform legislation,” according to a copy of the September 28 letter furnished by Neal’s office.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has for months promised that tax reform would not lose revenue according to his department’s in-house economic models, saying they will provide a more optimistic and, in his view, realistic projection of economic growth effects than congressional scorekeepers’ macroeconomic models. Those statements had contributed to uncertainty about whether the JCT would retain its traditional role as Congress's official revenue estimator.

A Senate aide commenting on the condition of anonymity noted to Tax Analysts that under section 4107 of the Senate Budget Resolution that was released September 29, any JCT score “for major legislation considered in the Senate shall, to the greatest extent practicable, incorporate the budgetary effects of changes in economic output, employment, capital stock, and other macroeconomic variables resulting from such major legislation.”

While tax lobbyists said that Brady planned to release legislative text on tax reform during the first week in October, his spokesperson said Brady will hold off until the budget passes both houses of Congress and a conference committee has sorted out differences between the House and Senate versions.

Stephen K. Cooper contributed to this article.

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