As Chris Christie is still contemplating a 2016 presidential run, he recently posited a tax reform plan that differentiated himself from many of the other possible contenders. His platform was comprised of several points, such as: lower tax margins, reforming regulation,and eliminating payroll taxes for some earners. The last major tax code overhaul was the 1986 IRC reforms under President Reagan.
With regard to lowering tax margins, Christie proposed a true tax cut for both individual and corporate rates. Christie’s pan brings the top marginal rate to 28% from its current 39.6% for highest earners. His bottom rate would be less than 10% with just one more rate in the middle. Christie also proposes lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%. Currently, we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. This would give businesses a much-needed boost.
Another part of this plan goes after regulation. Christie nails it when he stated, “Regulation must be rational, cost-based and used only to implement actions that are explicitly authorized by statute. This era in which an ideological administration tries to accomplish through the regulatory state what it didn’t have the votes to accomplish in the duly elected Congress must end.” The brutal, overbearing regulatory environment that currently exists is often overlooked, and I applaud Christie for bringing attention to it.
Christie also examines the payroll tax, calling for its elimination for those over 62 and under 21, which would “reduce the marginal cost to the employee of taking a job, and reduce the federally imposed cost to an employer of hiring someone.” It is an incentive for older workers to continue working and younger workers to start. With the workforce participation rates at all-time lows, this is a pro-growth approach.
Other tenets of his plan include increasing investment in R&D and developing a more sensible national energy plan, such as building the Keystone pipeline. It is revenue-neutral, meaning the tax cut side will be offset by modifying or eliminating many of the tax credits and deductions that riddle the tax code, making it much more simplified. Keenly aware of the cherished mortgage deduction and charitable contribution deduction, Christie makes those basically off-limits, but the rest of them could be fair game.
Christie has yet to decide and announce if he is actually running, but his ideas provide good fodder for, and comparison to, the other current candidates. Some have called for a Flat Tax, while others champion a national sales tax. Tax code reform is overdue and necessary, and should be a centerpiece of any serious candidate for 2016. Overall, Christie’s plan is fairly sensible and growth-oriented. Now if he would only fix his entitlement reform policies!