Bush appoints tax reform panel

Jan. 7, 2005 at 12:44 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- President Bush appointed a bipartisan panel Friday to look at reforming the ponderous U.S. tax code.

The commission, which will report its findings and recommendations to Treasury Secretary John Snow no later than the end of July, is headed by former Sen. Connie Mack of Florida. John Breaux, a three-time senator from Louisiana, was named vice chair.

"I believe this is an essential task for our country," Bush said in announcing the panel. "It (a new tax code) will treat the taxpayers more fairly."

Making the tax code simpler, fairer and more pro-growth was an essential item in Bush's six-point re-election platform, and on Friday he reiterated his commitment in word and deed.

Mack told reporters panel members would go into the process with open minds and solicit opinions from the general public -- possibly employing a town-hall process -- as well as economic and taxation experts.

Treasury Secretary Snow said the importance of the current home mortgage and charitable deduction provisions "should be given due consideration" by the panel.

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