Trump tax reform plans ignore infra spending

Despite speculation that the president may tie infrastructure to a tax code overhaul, a one-page tax plan outline was silent on such prospects.

An outline of plans for tax reform released by President Trump this week made no mention of infrastructure, prompting accusations from Democrats that the president is “not serious” about the issue.

Trump has previously explored tying tax reform and infrastructure together in an effort to bring Democrats on board. But neither the one-page readout, which proposes cutting the business tax rate to 15 percent and the top individual rate to 35 percent, nor comments from the president’s economic advisors discussed infrastructure spending.

The blueprint also proposes a one-time tax on overseas profits, which has been discussed as a possible solution for infrastructure funding. Congressman John Delaney, a Democrat who has pushed for an infrastructure bill, concluded that the White House “essentially announced they aren’t doing infrastructure”.

But others say it is too early to draw such conclusions, noting that weeks to months of negotiations likely lie ahead before any legislation passes. Ted Brooks, portfolio manager for globally listed infrastructure at CenterSquare, said the blueprint does not significantly change the likelihood of an infrastructure bill eventually passing.

“It is very, very early to either worry about the future of an infrastructure bill or to assume that we are likely to find common ground between the [Democrats and Republicans],” Brooks told Infrastructure Investor, adding that he does not expect such legislation to be seriously considered until late 2017 or early 2018.

While Trump has promised to bring forward legislation spurring up to $1 trillion in infrastructure spending, details of the plan have yet to take shape.