It’s time to raise corporate taxes, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and small business owners said on Friday.
Tax-evasion tactics have led to an increasingly smaller effective tax rate for big corporations, putting smaller businesses at a competitive disadvantage, Levin and two small business owners said on a conference call with reporters on Friday. But the current fiscal negotiations offer a chance to right that wrong.
“It is very unfair to the American taxpayer, it robs the U.S. Treasury of needed revenues, it’s unfair to any competitors who don’t use these offshore gimmicks and these corporate loopholes,” Levin said. It’s time, he said, to return corporate taxes to historical levels.
Levin was reluctant to put an explicit target on how much revenue should be raised by ending what he called “tax tricks,” but he did offer a range for the next decade.
“I would think if you can get two to three hundred billion in additional corporate tax revenue over that ten-year period that that would be a significant contribution to deficit-reduction,” he said.
Some executives have pushed for “revenue-neutral” reform, which would simplify the corporate tax code, but leave the amount corporations pay roughly the same.
Despite what he called “a huge effort” by big corporations to reduce their tax burden, he said he was convinced a revenue-neutral proposal would make it past neither the Senate nor President Obama.
Earlier this week, the Business Roundtable, a group which counts as members the heads of many of the nation’s largest companies, called for all options to be put on the table in talks to avert the $500 billion in year-end tax hikes and spending cuts that comprise the fiscal cliff.
Friday's call was hosted by the American Sustainable Business Council, Business for Shared Prosperity and the Main Street Alliance, which are collecting signatures for a letter to Congress and President Obama to reform the tax system in a way "that is fair and provides sufficient revenue for the public services and infrastructure that underpin our economy."