- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump is criticizing a key plank of the House GOP’s tax plan, which would adjust import and export taxes with an eye toward keeping jobs in the United States, as “too complicated.”

“Anytime I hear border adjustment, I don’t love it,” Mr. Trump said in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. “Because usually it means we’re going to get adjusted into a bad deal. That’s what happens.”

The so-called “border adjustment” tax, part of the House GOP’s “Better Way” policy platform, would work toward taxing imports and exempting exports with a goal of keeping jobs in the United States.

The measure, as part of a broader tax overhaul, would raise about $1 trillion in revenue over the course of a decade, according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation.

House Republicans’ plan calls for the corporate tax rate to be reduced from 35 percent to 20 percent, while Mr. Trump has said he wants a 15 percent rate.

“Under the border adjustment concept, if somebody is making a motorcycle or a plane in our country, they’re getting a credit for the plane they make before they send it over to wherever it’s going,” Mr. Trump told the paper.

“And you don’t need that plus lower taxes and everything else. And it’s too complicated,” he said. “They get credit on some parts and not other parts. Where was the part made? I don’t want that. I just want it nice and simple.”

Mr. Trump has instead threatened to impose tariffs on companies that move jobs overseas and then try to sell their goods back to the U.S.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, suggested Tuesday that Mr. Trump’s team and House Republicans aren’t that far apart on the issue of taxes.

“If the criticism is that it’s complicated, he and his guys just need to look and see that the alternative is more complicated,” Mr. Norquist said on Fox Business Network. “My understanding from talking to people is that both the Trump people and the House people are very close to seeing things largely the same way.”

Mr. Norquist predicted that within six months, there would be a tax plan enacted that “looks very close to the House plan and the Trump plan.”

“They’re not that far apart right now,” he said.

In recent weeks, Mr. Trump also warned Capitol Hill Republicans about prioritizing a move to gut an independent ethics office, and they subsequently abandoned the plan.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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