GOP lawmakers want to raise taxes on working families to fund infrastructure

794

They want a gas tax increase instead of a corporate tax increase.

Among congressional Republicans' reasons for opposing President Joe Biden's $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan is its provision for increasing the corporate tax rate.

Some GOP lawmakers are urging instead a hike in the gasoline tax to fund infrastructure investments.

Unlike a corporate tax increase, a higher gasoline tax could disproportionately hurt working and lower-income Americans. It would impact those who have to drive to and for work and apply equally to lower- and higher-income drivers.

Rep. Don Young (R-AK), who attended a meeting on Monday between Biden and a group of Congress members from both parties to discuss the infrastructure plan, told the Washington Post that he urged Biden to reconsider increasing the gasoline tax.

"Roads, bridges, and ports are undoubtedly infrastructure, and I believe that energy grids, broadband, and clean water can fit the definition as well. But I have concern that moving too far beyond this could sink the bill," Young said.

Biden's plan calls for partially rescinding the massive corporate tax cuts that were included in Donald Trump's 2017 tax law, raising the rate from 21% to 28%, and closing some loopholes. This would bring in an estimated $2.5 trillion in new revenue over the next 15 years.

Corporate interest groups like the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have opposed the tax rate increases included in the plan. The Republican lawmakers they have helped bankroll have indicated that they all plan to oppose the increases.

"I view the 2017 tax bill as one of my signature achievements in my entire career," Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) told reporters on Monday. "It would be an almost impossible sell for the president to come to a bipartisan agreement that included the undoing of that signature."

But polls show strong public support for both Biden's infrastructure plan and the corporate tax increases that would fund it. A Morning Consult/Politico poll released on April 7 found 65% support for a funding the plan through increased corporate tax revenues, including 42% support from Republican voters.

John Anzalone, who was pollster for Biden's 2020 campaign, told Axios on Sunday that raising taxes on corporations is a political winner: "We can take control of the tax narrative like we did in the Biden campaign — which was to say, 'No, that's not true, your taxes aren't going to increase, it's only those who are making over $400,000 and big corporations, who haven't been paying their fair share of taxes over the years.'"

Earlier this year, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg suggested a gas tax increase might be considered, but the administration decided against it.

Biden, who has repeatedly said he will not raise federal taxes on families making less than $400,000 annually, has indicated he is against increasing the tax on gasoline. Reuters reported on Monday that, according to a White House official, Biden told lawmakers that increased gas taxes would not provide a significant boost to federal revenues.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.