Corker pitches tax reform at Knoxville Economics Forum

For the most part, Sen. Bob Corker stuck to Republican talking points when he spoke today to the Knoxville Economics Forum.

The first-term Tennessee Republican said the fiscal crisis the nation faces requires tax reform, entitlement spending cuts and otherwise slashing the size of federal government.

And he made standard Republican cracks about health care reform, Dodd-Frank and the Environmental Protection Agency.

However, he made some in the mostly friendly audience squirm when he suggested a few tax reform specifics.

Foremost on the Corker list is eliminating tax subsidies. Thanks to a variety of tax breaks, some companies pay an effective tax rate as low as 8 percent, he said.

That’s not fair and it’s bad for the economy, Corker said.

While some widely popular tax breaks would be hard to get ride of – like the home mortgage interest rate deduction – Congress needs to take a serious look at the $1.2 trillion in tax subsidies currently enshrined in the tax code, Corker said.

He specifically mentioned his opposition to ethanol subsidies, a popular tax break for ag-related businesses in this part of East Tennessee.