By Kevin Drawbaugh and Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON Thu Oct 2, 2014 6:14pm EDT

(Reuters) – A new math for tax policy is attracting fresh attention in Washington as polls suggest that Republicans could capture full control of the U.S. Congress next month.

Known as “dynamic scoring,” the approach is about how to estimate the federal budget impact of tax law changes and it has long been backed by Republicans but opposed by some Democrats.

In recent remarks to a financial industry group, Representative Paul Ryan said that if his fellow Republicans can seize control of Congress in the Nov. 4 elections, they could make dynamic scoring a more integral part of tax analysis.

“What we want to do is change our measurement so that we can use – people say it’s dynamic scoring – I really prefer to call it reality-based scoring,” said Ryan, favored to become chairman of the House of Representatives’ tax-writing committee in the new Congress that will convene in January.

“One thing we know for sure, that we’re positive about, is the score-keeping we use is not correct,” he said.

Right now, whenever a U.S. lawmaker wants to raise or lower a tax, the proposal has to be “scored” by the non-partisan staff experts of Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT).

The JCT score is an estimate of how much a proposal will raise or lower projected government revenues, usually over 10 years, a crucial factor due to the large federal deficit.

JCT scores are based on projected alterations in taxpayer behavior due to tax law changes, but not on changes in the broad economy. For instance, standard JCT scores hold gross domestic product (GDP) constant. GDP measures the economy’s total output.

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