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I recently wrote about the need for comprehensive tax reform to lower the burden on all Americans and make the tax code fairer, flatter and simpler. This column is meant to be the second in a series of columns to delve into the need for comprehensive reform, rather than solely debating traditional rate cuts, review many of the tax reform proposals and ideas put forward from across the political spectrum, consider how reforms are estimated and reflect on the potential effects of the reforms being considered.

The goal with this series of tax reform-related columns is to carry on a discussion with Idahoans about the reform efforts underway. In this column I will write about the considerable work on tax reform and proposals that have brought us to this encouraging point in the effort to comprehensively reform our complex, costly to comply with, unfair and anti-competitive tax code.

In recent years, the Senate Finance Committee, on which I serve, has held dozens of legislative hearings on the issues and proposals that are on the table in the tax reform process. Information about the hearings is archived and can be reviewed at A number of significant tax reform proposals have also been put forward. These include the following both conservative and bipartisan proposals:

n The proposal put forward by the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson Commission is available at I was honored to have the opportunity to serve on this commission.

n Then-Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-Michigan) released a substantial draft legislative proposal in 2014 that can be reviewed at

n Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and then-Senator Dan Coats (R-Indiana) released a bipartisan tax reform plan:

n Current House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) released a “Better Way” blueprint for tax reform that can be reviewed at

n The Trump Administration, Republican Leadership in the House and Senate, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee Chairmen, known collectively as the “Big 6,” recently put forward a framework for tax reform that will ultimately be developed and considered by the Finance and the Ways and Means Committees. It can be reviewed at

This is only a sampling of the many important ideas and proposals that have already been put on the table by Republicans, Democrats and Independents. What we can expect to see in any final proposal put before Congress are many of the same proposals, or versions of them, that have already been seen in these earlier drafts. The more the American people familiarize themselves with these existing proposals, the better their ability will be to follow the process and actively engage as we move forward.

Thank you to all those Idahoans who take the time to share their views. I encourage all Idahoans to stay engaged and urge those you communicate with to get involved and let their senators and representatives know how they feel about the importance of these issues. This will improve the ability to achieve the kind of comprehensive tax reform our country needs.

This guest column, the other tax-related columns in this series and links to cited reports and proposals can be accessed at

Mike Crapo is the senior United States senator from Idaho.