Tax Policy Center
Leonard Burman is the Director of the Tax Policy Center, a Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, and senior research associate at Syracuse University?s Center for Policy Research. He co-founded the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, in 2002. He has held high-level positions in both the executive and legislative branches, serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis at the Treasury from 1998 to 2000, and as Senior Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. He is past-president of the National Tax Association. Burman is the author of Taxes in America: What Everyone Needs to Know, with Joel Slemrod, and The Labyrinth of Capital Gains Tax Policy: A Guide for the Perplexed, co-editor of Taxing Capital Income and Using Taxes to Reform Health Insurance, and author of numerous articles, studies, and reports. Burman?s recent research has examined US federal budget dynamics, tax expenditures, financing long-term care, the individual alternative minimum tax, the changing role of taxation in social policy, and tax incentives for savings, retirement, and health insurance. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.
Preliminary Analysis of The Family Fairness and Opportunity Tax Reform Act (Research Report)
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Senator Mike Lee's Family Fairness and Opportunity Tax Reform Act (S.1616) would significantly expand tax benefits for children, repeal the alternative minimum tax, and repeal the Affordable Care Act surtaxes on earnings and net investment income. To partially offset the cost of these provisions, the plan would consolidate filing statuses and tax brackets and repeal itemized deductions other than those for charitable contributions and home mortgage interest. TPC estimates that the plan would reduce tax revenues by $2.4 trillion over the ten-year budget period, 2014-2023, and remove roughly 12 million tax units from the federal income tax rolls in 2014.
The War on Poverty Moves to the Tax Code (Article/Tax Facts)
|Posted to Web: March 04, 2014||Publication Date: March 04, 2014|
In 1975, the federal income tax code joined the "War on Poverty" with the enactment of the earned income tax credit (EITC). Today, tax credits form some of the largest and most effective anti-poverty programs in the US. In 2012, the Census Bureau estimated that tax credits cut poverty (under a broad measure that includes the effect of programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and the EITC) by 3 percentage points – more than SNAP (1.6 points) and TANF (0.2 points). The tax credits cut child poverty by a whopping 6.7 percentage points.
Pathways to Tax Reform Revisited (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: January 07, 2014||Publication Date: January 06, 2014|
There is widespread agreement that the income tax needs reform, although little agreement about how to do it. A common thread in most reform proposals is to slash most tax expenditures. A 1973 book by Stanley Surrey made the case that cuts in tax expenditures was the "pathway to tax reform." This paper revisits Surrey's pathway, examining various proposals to eliminate, reduce, or reformulate tax expenditures as part of tax reform, including limitations on tax expenditures, converting most tax expenditures to credits, and more radical reforms that would vastly reduce the number of return filers.
Tax Reform and the Tax Treatment of Capital Gains (Testimony)
|Posted to Web: July 11, 2013||Publication Date: July 11, 2013|
Leonard Burman's testimony before the U.S. House of Representative's Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committee on tax reform and the tax treatment of capital gains.
Tax Reform to Encourage Growth, Reduce the Deficit, and Promote Fairness (Testimony)
|Posted to Web: September 20, 2012||Publication Date: September 20, 2012|
Leonard Burman's testimony before the Senate Budget Committee on tax reform to encourage economic growth, reduce the federal deficit, and to promote fairness.
Tax Reform Options: Marginal Rates on High-Income Taxpayers, Capital Gains, and Dividends (Testimony)
|Posted to Web: March 02, 2012||Publication Date: March 01, 2012|
Leonard Burman's testimony before the Senate Committee on Finance on tax reform options affecting high-income taxpayers.
Catastrophic Budget Failure (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: September 14, 2011||Publication Date: September 14, 2011|
Continuation of current U.S. fiscal policy will lead to an enormous accumulation of debt with potentially disastrous economic consequences. Exacerbated by the recent economic turmoil and fueled by the willingness of creditors to lend at very low interest rates, there is signifi cant risk that necessary fi scal reform will be put off. In this paper, we consider the causes, mechanisms, and macroeconomic fallout of a catastrophic budget failure — a situation in which markets’ perception of the credit worthiness of the U.S. government rapidly deteriorates, leaving it unable to access credit markets at any reasonable rate of interest and generating a high probability of the previously unthinkable: the U.S. government defaulting on its debt obligations.
The Future of Individual Tax Rates: Effects of Economic Growth and Distribution: Leonard Burman's Testimony before the Senate Committee on Finance (Testimony)
|Posted to Web: September 01, 2010||Publication Date: September 01, 2010|
Leonard Burman's testimony before the Senate Committee on Finance on whether and how to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.
Countdown to Catastrophe (Commentary)
|Posted to Web: July 14, 2010||Publication Date: July 14, 2010|
This article, written for a lay audience, discusses the causes and consequences of “catastrophic budget failure.” When America’s ballooning federal debt becomes unmanageable, we might simply refuse to honor our obligations, triggering a worldwide financial collapse and an economic downtown that would make the recent unpleasantness seem like a walk in the park. Or we might create enough money to pay back our creditors, domestic and foreign, triggering a hyperinflation reminiscent of failed states like the Weimar Republic in the 1930s (or, more recently, Zimbabwe) that would wipe out the savings of anyone caught holding wealth in dollars.
The Myth of Income Tax Freeloading (Commentary)
|Posted to Web: April 26, 2010||Publication Date: April 26, 2010|
This year's tax season controversy surrounds the Tax Policy Center's estimate that 47% of households do not owe income tax. The estimate has raised concerns about equity (nearly half of families free-riding on the rest of us) and civic responsibility (can democracy work when half of voters get government for free?). It also just ticked off some people who feel they're bearing more than their fair share of the tax burden.
|Posted to Web: April 19, 2010||Publication Date: April 15, 2010|
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