Remembering Bob Dole

I was a big fan of Bob Dole when I worked for Congressional tax-writing committees in the 1980s.  He chaired the Senate Finance Committee until he became Majority Leader, and he stayed on the committee.  He was a statesman in his own way, and funny.  After Dole died, Al Franken started claiming to be the funniest living ex-Senator.

Here’s some marijuana tax trivia.  Bob Dole inserted the 280E Selling Expense Tax into the tax law in 1982 when he was Senate Finance Committee chair.  I was on the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation then, and must have known about 280E back then, because the staff had proofed the technical explanation of the entire bill during Congressional downtime for staff, but I didn’t work on it.

Dole got the idea from Senator Bill Armstrong (R-CO) who was on the Finance Committee.  Armstrong was a pretty shrewd operator.  He was described by Dole as the “the father of tax indexing” – a change called the most dramatic tax law development in a generation by Ken Kies on the right and Jim Wetzler on the left.  So that makes Armstrong a key figure in tax policy.  280E is hated by the marijuana industry, but by making advertising and marketing non-deductible, 280E keeps the noise down.  

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