Mnuchin wants "very significant" tax reform by August recess

24 February, 2017, 00:53 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • Neil Catania right talks with a fellow trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday Feb. 22 2017. Declines in energy and industrial stocks are leading U.S. indexes slightly lower in early trading as the market comes off a record closi

President Donald Trump had promised major tax reform and leaner regulations as part of his election campaign, vows that have pushed USA equity markets to records highs since the election.

On Wall Street, the Dow booked an all-time intraday high for a 10th straight day, while S&P 500 touched a record high before retreating.

Gains in energy shares due to a jump in oil prices helped lift the equity market.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is hoping for "very significant" tax reform before Congress takes a recess at the end of the summer.

"Tax reform is our number one objective", Mnuchin told Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo.

Mnuchin said the administration is "primarily focused on a middle-income tax cut and a simplification for business", according to CNBC.

"There's an incredible amount of liquidity out there and we want to make sure banks put it to work", he added. But investors were disappointed when Mnuchin conceded that this was "an ambitious timeline".

"It could slip to later this year", he said.

Specialist Robert Tuccillo works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday Feb. 22 2017. Declines in energy and industrial stocks are leading U.S. indexes slightly lower in early trading as the market comes off a record closing high the day
Mnuchin wants "very significant" tax reform by August recess

Investors were also perturbed that the Trump administration appears undecided over whether to back a controversial 20 per cent border adjustment tax - which would tax USA imports and exempt exports from taxation.

The tax plan of Republican House leaders includes the border adjustment tax, which could be a major source of tax revenue. "We're going to have a plan to address those concerns", Mnuchin told CNBC.

Meanwhile, US construction, engineering and material stocks are being weighed down by worries that the Trump administration is set to push back its $US1 trillion infrastructure spending program until next year.

Mnuchin acknowledged that the administration's growth estimates likely will be higher than what Congress uses to score the tax plan. He admitted that congressional estimates will project a bigger hit to the federal deficit because of slower growth forecasts.

Mnuchin also said the administration is still aiming for sustainable economic growth of 3 percent or more but cautioned that the tax reform plan will take time to impact the economy.

"We think it's critical that we get back to more normalized economic growth".

While he said the cuts would be integral to achieving the administration's goal of at least 3% economic growth, a level called "very achievable". "But I'm not looking to do that", he said.

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