Posts By Carl Davis

$1trillion+ in tax breaks now subject to Executive Branch review

Bipartisan legislation signed by President Obama last Tuesday will significantly change the way the government monitors and reports on its own performance. One of the most important reforms contained in the new law is a requirement that targeted tax breaks — or “tax expenditures” — finally be analyzed based on their success in contributing towardRead… Read more »

Overspending through the tax code

Our current budget process already makes it way too easy for lawmakers to overspend via the tax code. Unlike discretionary spending, most tax code spending programs (or “tax expenditures”) are permanent, unlimited in size, immune from the appropriations process, and ignored during the government’s own performance reviews. Rep. Boehner’s (R-OH) proposal to replace PAYGO withRead… Read more »

Curbing tax expenditure addiction through procedural change

My organization (Citizens for Tax Justice) released a new report today describing how to reform the ways in which the Legislative and Executive Branches deal with “tax expenditures” (or special tax breaks). The reforms discussed within the report (such as performance reviews, sunsets, caps, changes to the committee system, etc) would serve as a usefulRead… Read more »

President’s Budget Proposal Continues to Delay Taking a Closer Look at Tax Breaks

In recent hearings before the House Budget Committee, both Peter Orszag (OMB Director) and Jeffrey Zients (OMB Chief Performance Officer) have acknowledged the need to scrutinize “tax expenditures” — i.e. special tax breaks aimed at achieving specific policy goals. Mr. Zients even went so far as to express “100% agreement” with the notion of evaluatingRead… Read more »

Government Performance & the Tax Code

It’s time for the federal government to finally follow through on its long-unfulfilled promise to evaluate the usefulness of special tax breaks. Does the research and experimentation tax credit, for example, actually encourage research? Or does it simply enrich high-tech firms? Does the mortgage interest deduction increase homeownership, or does it only reward people whoRead… Read more »