Tax reform by August unlikely, Mnuchin says

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged Monday that getting tax reform legislation to President Donald Trump by August is unlikely.

Mnuchin told the Financial Times that the timeline is “highly aggressive to not realistic at this point.” He had been the first administration official to predict August passage, which was widely considered unrealistic given the complexities and politics involved.

“It is fair to say it is probably delayed a bit because of the health care” maneuvering, Mnuchin said in the interview. He said he still expects tax reform to get done in 2017.

Mnuchin didn’t take firm stances on two contentious issues: border adjustability — which would tax imports but not exports — and whether the tax reform plan would add to the deficit.

He said the administration is looking at other ways to raise the $1 trillion that border adjustability is intended to generate to fund tax cuts, but added, “That is not to say we have taken it off the table."

Asked whether the plan would grow the deficit, Mnuchin repeated Trump’s prediction that a tax overhaul would unleash massive economic growth.

“Economic growth creates lots of revenues,” he told the Financial Times. “When you calculate whether it is deficit-neutral or not, there are a bunch of different calculations and a bunch of models. I am just pointing out the magnitude of what economic growth does.”