The Buzz

Overseas corporate taxes: A compromise in the wind?

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

Is compromise possible between President Barack Obama and Sen. Roy Blunt?

Maybe.

For some time the Missouri Republican (and others) have pushed for an infrastructure repair fund paid for through a tax on “repatriated” overseas corporate profits. Those profits (estimated at $2 trillion) are now kept overseas, where corporate taxes are lower; Blunt’s idea is to allow companies to bring the money back to the U.S. and tax some of it for building projects.

Obama’s budget, released Monday, takes a slightly different approach. It imposes a 14 percent tax on overseas profits without requiring them to be moved back to the U.S.

The ideas are similar, although the mechanisms are different. Liberal groups don’t like the repatriation holiday, because it would allow corporations to escape some tax liability, while conservatives oppose an increased tax burden on business.

But there might be a way to merge the two approaches.

“I’m in discussions with my colleagues in the House and Senate to determine the best way forward to address our country’s overall infrastructure needs,” Blunt said in an emailed statement.

“Unlike the president’s proposal, my colleagues and I believe we can create a new innovative financing tool and have the resources to fund a six-year year highway bill at lower repatriation rates, which ultimately means a better deal for Americans and a better incentive to bring this money back home.”

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