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 evaluating tax expenditure performance alongside other types of government spending, and to declare the review of tax expenditures to be a priority moving forward.
Unfortunately, despite this apparent interest among high-ranking OMB officials, the President’s February 1 budget proposal shows no signs of ending the delays on this issue that been occurring within the Executive Branch for over a decade. As I noted in my op-ed
in today’s Sacramento Bee: “for the second year in a row, the Obama administration has chosen [in its budget] to simply copy-and-paste the
Bush administration’s language on [tax expenditure performance review], complete with all the
same promises about what will be done at some point over the ‘next few