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Press Release

President Bush Creates Tax Reform Commission

From the White House:

President George W. Bush today signed the Executive Order establishing the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. The bipartisan panel will advise the Secretary of the Treasury on options to reform the tax code to make it simpler, fairer, and more pro-growth.

The President intends to appoint this distinguished group of experts to the Panel:

Connie Mack III (Chairman), Senior Advisor, Shaw Pittman LLP and former U.S. Senator. Senator Mack served as Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee and was a member of the Finance and Banking committees.

John Breaux (Vice-Chairman), former U.S. Senator. Senator Breaux served on the Finance Committee and the sub-committee on Taxation and IRS Oversight.

William Eldridge Frenzel, former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Mr. Frenzel served on the Budget Committee and the Ways and Means Committee. Mr. Frenzel is a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution.

Elizabeth Garrett, Professor of Law, University of Southern California. Ms. 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, Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. Mr. 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. Mr. Muris served as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission from 2001 to 2004.

James Michael Poterba, Department of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mr. Poterba serves as Associate Department Head. He has taught at MIT since 1982.

Charles O. Rossotti, Senior Advisor, The Carlyle Group. Mr. Rossotti served from 1997 to 2002 as Commissioner of Internal Revenue. He formerly served as the President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of American Management Systems.

Liz Ann Sonders, Chief Investment Strategist, Charles Schwab. Ms. Sonders joined U.S. Trust, a division of Charles Schwab, in 1999 as a Managing Director and member of its Investment Policy Committees.

The executive order:


By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to assist in reforming the Federal Internal Revenue Code to benefit all Americans, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Establishment. There is established the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform (Advisory Panel).

Sec. 2. Membership. (a) The Advisory Panel shall be composed of up to nine members appointed by the President.

(b) The President shall designate one member of the Advisory Panel to serve as Chair and one member to serve as Vice Chair.

Sec. 3. Purpose. The purpose of the Advisory Panel shall be to submit to the Secretary of the Treasury in accordance with this order a report with revenue neutral policy options for reforming the Federal Internal Revenue Code. These options should:

(a) simplify Federal tax laws to reduce the costs and administrative burdens of compliance with such laws;

(b) share the burdens and benefits of the Federal tax structure in an appropriately progressive manner while recognizing the importance homeownership and charity in American society; and

(c) promote long-run economic growth and job creation, and better encourage work effort, saving, and investment, so as to strengthen the competitiveness of the United States in the global marketplace.

At least one option submitted by the Advisory Panel should use the Federal income tax as the base for its recommended reforms.

Sec. 4. Administration. (a) The Department of the Treasury shall provide, to the extent permitted by law, administrative support and funding for the Advisory Panel. The Advisory Panel is established within the Department of the Treasury for administrative purposes only.

(b) The Chair of the Advisory Panel shall convene and preside at the meetings of the Advisory Panel, determine its agenda after consultation with the Vice Chair, and direct its work. The Advisory Panel shall have a staff headed by an Executive Director who shall be selected by the President and report to the Chair.

(c) Members of the Advisory Panel shall serve without compensation for their work on the Advisory Panel. Members of the Advisory Panel who are not officers or employees in the executive branch, while engaged in the work of the Advisory Panel, may be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by law for persons serving intermittently in Government service (5 U.S.C. 5701 through 5707), consistent with the availability of funds.

(d) Consistent with applicable law, heads of executive departments and agencies shall provide to the Advisory Panel such assistance, including assignment or detail of personnel, and information as may be necessary for the Advisory Panel to perform its functions.

(e) The Advisory Panel may conduct meetings in appropriate locations throughout the United States to obtain information and advice from Americans of diverse backgrounds and experience and from a diverse range of American entities, including large and small for-profit and non-profit organizations, State, local, and tribal governments, and from other individuals and entities as appropriate. Public hearings shall be held at the call of the Chair.

(f) Insofar as the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.) (the "Act"), may apply to the Advisory Panel, any functions of the President under that Act, except for those in section 6 of that Act, shall be performed by the Secretary of the Treasury in accordance with the guidelines that have been issued by the Administrator of General Services.

Sec. 5. Report. The Advisory Panel shall submit to the Secretary of the Treasury a report containing policy options in accordance with section 3 of this order as soon as practicable, but not later than July 31, 2005.

Sec. 6. Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budget, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, against the United States, its departments, agencies, entities, officers, employees or agents, or any other person.

Sec. 7. Termination. The Advisory Panel shall terminate 30 days after submitting its report pursuant to section 5 of this order.

January 7, 2005.