House Republican leaders are seeking to add almost a half-million dollars in new funding to hire economists who could boost the outlook for President Bush’s $674 billion tax-cut plan.
The new aides, set to be hired by the Joint Committee on Taxation, would specialize in analysis called “dynamic scoring,” which estimates the potential macroeconomic impact of tax cuts.
The controversial method seeks to account for revenue spurred by economic growth that tax cuts might generate, thereby lowering the score, or cost, of the tax proposal accordingly.
Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) and GOP Conference Vice Chairman Jack Kingston (Ga.) are pushing for the new staff with the full support of the House leadership, according to sources.
The $460,000 would come in the form of a line item to the fiscal 2003 omnibus appropriations bill. Kingston will likely be named a conferee on the spending bill when it goes to conference.
The Taxation Committee’s fiscal 2002 budget was $6,733,000, and the budget request for fiscal 2003 was $7,323,000. More than 90 percent of that covers salaries; currently the panel employs 62 people, including 15 economists and five statistical analysts.
The new rules package for the 108th Congress includes a provision that allows tax bills to be scored using the dynamic method.
But none of the panel’s 62 current staffers handles dynamic scoring full time. The two economists who create macroeconomic models to estimate tax revenues have the primary responsibility of answering Member and committee requests.
The money would be used to create a deputy chief of staff position whose occupant would handle macroeconomic modeling of tax policy, two senior economists and a research associate. The committee is looking for experienced academics, possibly drawing from universities or the Federal Reserve Board.
The deputy chief of staff would command a salary of about $140,000, the senior economists $110,000 each and the research associate $60,000. The $40,000 balance from the line item would cover overhead.