The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Ore. Sen. Wyden, incoming Finance Committee chairman, sets income tax revamp as top priority

  • Print

Sen. Ron Wyden, the incoming chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Friday his first priority in the job will be overhauling the nation's tax system, which he called a "dysfunctional, rotten mess."

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Wyden said he was inspired by the bipartisan income tax changes of 1986, when former Oregon Republican Sen. Bob Packwood was Senate Finance chairman and Ronald Reagan was president.

"The last time there was a big tax reform effort like this it created 6 million new jobs," Wyden said. "I can't say every one was due to tax reform, but it sure helped."

Wyden is currently chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He is expected to be named Finance Committee chairman next week to replace Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., whom the Senate on Thursday confirmed as the new ambassador to China.

"I intend to spend time listening to my colleagues from both political parties, particularly around creating jobs for middle class folks, strengthening Medicare guarantees while holding down the costs, and fixing this dysfunctional rotten mess of a tax system," he said.

Wyden said he plans to start the overhaul by pushing a bill filed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to extend some 50 tax breaks that expired in December for such things as research and development, renewable energy and mortgage debt and use the extensions as a bridge to comprehensive changes.

Wyden would also like to see the standard deduction tripled to $30,000, so for "a middle-class person making $50,000 or $60,000, $30,000 would be off limits" for taxation.

Wyden said he's already started working on revamping the income tax code with Sen. Dan Coates, R-Ind.

"If you really want to get a sense of the real world economic challenge, it's time to focus on the needs of the middle class and deal with what I call the Neiman Marcus-Dollar Tree economy," Wyden said.

High-end retailers and bargain stores, like Dollar Tree, are driving retails sales, Wyden explained, while retailers that cater to the middle class are squeezed.

Wyden said also said that Medicare is dealing with different challenges today than when it was created in 1965.

"Today the program is primarily about chronic disease: diabetes, cancer, stroke, heart disease," he said. "The care for these serious health conditions is so fragmented and poorly co-ordinated."

Wyden says he feels confident that Medicare can be changed to protect guaranteed benefits and hold down the costs.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jim Flaherty remembered at visitation as irreplaceable

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060711 Chris Pedersen breeds Monarch butterflies in his back yard in East Selkirk watching as it transforms from the Larva or caterpillar through the Chrysalis stage to an adult Monarch. Here an adult Monarch within an hour of it emerging from the Chrysalis which can be seen underneath it.
  • A nesting goose sits on the roof of GoodLife Fitness at 143 Nature Way near Kenaston as the morning sun comes up Wednesday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 07- Web crop-May 09, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google