White House Appoints Tax Reform Panel

Published March 1, 2005

President George W. Bush on January 7 followed through on a campaign promise to name a commission to study tax reform by announcing the formation of the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform.

The nine-member panel will be directed by former U.S. Senators Connie Mack III (R-FL) and John Breaux (D-LA), who will serve as chairman and vice chairman, respectively.

Mack is now senior advisor at Shaw Pittman LLP, a Washington, DC law firm. During his Senate tenure Mack served as chairman of the Joint Economic Committee and was a member of the Finance and Banking committees.

Breaux served on the Senate Finance Committee and sub-committee on Taxation and IRS Oversight.

The panel has been directed to make recommendations to Treasury Secretary John Snow by July 31, 2005. The president has asked members to suggest a simpler and fairer tax system that encourages economic growth. Snow will use the report in shaping his own proposals for Bush.

In a prepared statement, Snow said the bipartisan panel “brings together some of our nation’s brightest minds.”

Other panelists named to the commission are:

  • William Eldridge Frenzel, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Frenzel served on the Budget Committee and the Ways and Means Committee. He is a guest scholar at The Brookings Institution.
  • Elizabeth Garrett, professor of law, University of Southern California. Garrett served as legislative director and tax and budget counsel to former U.S. Senator David L. Boren.
  • Edward P. Lazear, senior fellow, Hoover Institution, and professor of human resources, management, and economics in Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Lazear is the founding editor of the Journal of Labor Economics.
  • Timothy J. Muris, foundation professor, George Mason School of Law, and of counsel, O’Melveny & Myers LLP. Muris served as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission from 2001 to 2004.
  • James Michael Poterba, Department of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Poterba serves as associate department head. He has taught at MIT since 1982.
  • Charles O. Rossotti, senior advisor, The Carlyle Group. Rossotti served from 1997 to 2002 as commissioner of Internal Revenue. He formerly served as president, chief executive officer, and chairman of the board of American Management Systems.
  • Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist, Charles Schwab. Sonders joined U.S. Trust, a division of Charles Schwab, in 1999 as a managing director and member of its investment policy committees.

Steve Stanek ([email protected]) is managing editor of Budget & Tax News.