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Trump floats cutting corporate tax rate in meeting with CEOs

Former President Trump floated further cuts to the corporate tax rate during a Business Roundtable event Thursday with some of the country’s most powerful executives, according to a source in attendance.

The former president delivered his pitch shortly after White House chief of staff Jeff Zients also sat for an interview before the CEOs. President Biden was also invited to attend, Business Roundtable said last week, but the president is currently in Italy for the Group of Seven summit.

Trump was interviewed by Fox Business host Larry Kudlow, who directed the National Economic Council under the former president, and Zients was interviewed by Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, per another person familiar with the meeting.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Trump’s signature tax bill, lowered the corporate tax rate to 21 percent, among other changes. The former president said he wants to make all “Trump tax cuts” permanent and bring the corporate tax rate down to 20 percent, Jason Miller, a Trump campaign spokesperson, told The Hill.

Miller also said Trump talked at length about his service industry tip tax-exemption proposal, which he proposed Sunday at a Las Vegas rally, and that it was well received.

A Business Roundtable spokesperson declined to comment on the closed-door, off-the-record meeting.

Trump’s tax platform draws a stark contrast with Biden’s, who has called for tax increases for billionaires and large companies, as the November election draws closer.

A lobbying organization representing the business leaders, Business Roundtable’s membership includes more than 200 CEOs of the country’s biggest companies.

Notable attendees at the event included Apple CEO Tim Cook, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, Proctor & Gamble CEO Jon Moeller and Cisco Systems CEO Chuck Robbins, according to the source.

Trump’s appearance at the Business Roundtable was just one stop on his whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C. He also met with members of Congress on Thursday, rallying Republican lawmakers with a unifying message ahead of the 2024 election in November.

Many provisions in Trump’s tax bill are set to expire in 2025. The corporate tax rate set by the legislation does not expire, but the upcoming deadline is a chance to either raise or lower the rate.

While House Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) recently told The Hill some Republicans are open to raising the corporate tax rates, others including Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), vice chair of the chief tax writing committee, have argued it should be cut further to attract more business and investment to the U.S.

The Biden administration has argued raising taxes on billionaires and large companies would help save the government trillions over the next decade. The increase was included in the president’s budget request this year, which was a nonstarter in the Republican-controlled House.

A CEO asked Zients during his interview how Biden thinks corporate tax hikes could affect business competitiveness, another personal familiar with the meeting told The Hill.

Zients said that the U.S. needs more revenue and a stable fiscal situation, but the administration thinks they can do so in a way that maintains competitiveness and investment at home.

The U.S. national debt currently stands at $34.7 trillion, according to Treasury Department data, after topping $34 trillion for the first time in January. While the Business Roundtable agreed the fiscal situation needs to be addressed, it opposed raising taxes on businesses to do so.

“The last place that policymakers ought to look is trying to fix the fiscal situation with business tax increases because those businesses are the ones that are creating jobs, keeping the United States competitive and making it possible to have a flourishing economy, without which there is nothing that can be done to ameliorate our fiscal situation,” said Moeller, who chairs Business Roundtable’s tax and fiscal policy committee, during a Business Roundtable event with reporters Wednesday.

Alex Gangitano and Julia Shapero contributed.


Source: The Hill

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