Statement on a Treasury Department Study on Tax Reform

November 27, 1984

In my State of the Union Address last January, I asked the Secretary of the Treasury to develop a plan to make our tax system more fair and more simple, with greater incentives for economic growth and with a broader tax base so that personal tax rates could come down, not go up.

Today I have received the Treasury study. I want first to thank Secretary Regan. He and his staff have worked long and hard to come up with a most comprehensive study of the modern American tax system, along with recommendations for improving it.

The report is lengthy and complex. All of us will need time to study the entire document. We are willing to listen to the comments and suggestions of all Americans, and especially those from the Congress -- its leaders and members of the tax writing committees. Secretary Regan has already briefed the Cabinet and some congressional leaders. Over the next several days he and his staff will be doing additional consultation.

At first glance, the Treasury study certainly proposes a simpler and fairer tax system, with lower rates for taxpayers and personal exemptions increased to $2,000. It is also something that I insisted upon: a tax simplification and not a tax increase in disguise.

I have asked Secretary Regan to make his study public at this time -- prior to my own decisions on exactly what simplifying legislation to propose to the Congress -- because I know that a task as difficult as overall simplification of our tax system will generate much debate, and I want all those interested in the subject to have the same information as we have.

Over the next few weeks, I intend personally to review the Treasury recommendations carefully, along with public and congressional reactions to them. I will present my tax simplification and reform plan to Congress early next year, when I hope we can move ahead in a bipartisan manner to benefit all Americans.