Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has released a new list of ten wasteful tax expenditures, totaling $130 billion over the next ten years. Whether it is tax breaks for NASCAR tracks, fishing tackle boxes, or films produced in the U.S., the list serves as a clear sign that there are plenty of places to look to raise revenue from tax expenditures. Coburn's list is below.
|Coburn's Top Ten Tax Expenditures|
|Eliminate Tax Breaks for Millionaires||$100 billion|
|Eliminate the Professional Sports Loophole||$910 million|
|End New Markets Tax Credit||$7.4 billion|
|End Tackle Box Tax Break||$11 million|
|End Dog and Pony Show Tax Break||$30 million|
|End Hollywood Tax Break||$300 million|
|End NASCAR Tax Break||$400 million|
|End Tree Planting Subsidies||$2 billion|
|End Historic Preservation and Non-Historic Structures Break||$7.6 billion|
|End the Residential Energy Efficient Tax Credit||$12 billion|
|Total Savings||$130 billion|
Source: Senator Tom Coburn
Savings of $130 billion is not enough to close our deficit, but it does reinforce that we need to take a serious look at reforming the tax code to make sure the credits and deductions we do have reflect good policy. A simpler tax code with a broader base could raise revenues and lower rates, while being as or more progressive than today's tax code. A simpler code would also help the IRS reduce our tax gap for additional savings.
On a similar note, Senator Coburn also recently sent a letter to the President and Congressional leaders urging them to let many expiring tax breaks sunset, saving $18 billion next year alone (note: a few of the policies mentioned in the letter overlap with the tax expenditures mentioned above). It's worth taking a serious look at these extenders, some of which may be justified and should be made permanent while are not justified and should expire. Looking at these tax extenders and tax expenditures as a whole should certainly be a central part of efforts to raise revenue during the fiscal cliff negotiations.