November 18, 2005

House GOP members question tax overhaul plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican members of the U.S. House
of Representatives tax panel urged Treasury Secretary John Snow
to ignore proposals to eliminate the mortgage interest rate
deduction, in a letter released on Friday.

Snow is studying plans to overhaul the U.S. tax system. A
panel of experts and former politicians proposed streamlining
the U.S. tax code, eliminating some taxes and cutting tax
rates, but canceling popular current tax deductions.

Eight GOP members of the House Ways and Means Committee
said proposed cuts to the mortgage interest benefit and the
deduction for state and local income taxes would remove
incentives for homeownership.

"While many investment opportunities exist today, perhaps
none provides more return for individuals, families and
communities than homeownership," the lawmakers wrote.

The letter, dated Thursday, is signed by Illinois Rep.
Jerry Weller, Florida Reps. Clay Shaw and Mark Foley,
Connecticut Rep. Nancy Johnson, California Rep. Wally Herger,
Kentucky Rep. Ron Lewis, Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, and Virginia
Rep. Eric Cantor.

Snow said on Thursday he would tailor his recommendations
for tax overhaul to political realities.

"Having the best academic proposals that are dead on
arrival doesn't really advance the causes of a broad-based tax
reform," he said in a speech to the Tax Foundation on Thursday.