Democrats introduce bill aimed at ensuring largest corporations pay 'fair share' of taxes

Democrats introduce bill aimed at ensuring largest corporations pay 'fair share' of taxes


By:  Aris Folley

Congressional Democrats this week introduced legislation that seeks to ensure large U.S. corporations pay their "fair share" of taxes, a measure that they'd like included in the reconciliation package they hope to pass without Republican buy-in to raise revenue. 

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Angus King (I-Maine), along with Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), announced the bill, also dubbed the Real Corporate Profits Tax Act of 2021, on Monday. The lawmakers said the measure will ensure the country's biggest companies do not get away with paying nothing in taxes. 

"Companies cannot be allowed to continue reporting billions in profits to shareholders and then turn around and pay nothing in taxes to the IRS. The American people know that's wrong. People in Congress know that's wrong," Warren said. "The President of the United States knows that's wrong." 

Warren said the legislation would help bring an end to "corporate double dealing" and ensure large companies "pay their fair share so that we can raise essential revenue needed to invest in families and our economy." 

The lawmakers said the bill - which is also co-sponsored by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) - will apply to more than 1,000 public companies and all private companies reporting more $100 million in book income to shareholders.

Under the bill, which Democrats said would raise roughly $700 billion in revenue over 10 years, a 7 percent surtax would be implemented per dollar in book income above $100 million.

Democrats said the bill would also only allow such companies to claim a credit of a third of their paid federal income taxes.

In a release detailing the legislation, Warren's office pointed to companies like Amazon, which has faced criticism in the past for paying zero in corporate taxes in 2018.

The legislation comes months after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said his company supported increasing the corporate tax rate to help foot the bill for President Biden’s infrastructure package.

Democrats have said they plan to offset costs of their ambitious trillion-dollar reconciliation package with tax increases on the wealthiest in the nation, while also promising tax relief for middle-class families. 

Republicans have come out against their efforts, panning the plans as "reckless" and criticized Democrats for the spending.

"Here’s the comedy: They won’t let Republicans have any say in this monstrosity… but they want our help raising their credit card limit to make it happen," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement on Monday.

In a statement introducing the new revenue legislation this week, King said the new tax revenue proposal is "about simple fiscal sense and common fairness, creating a reasonable floor on tax payments to make sure profitable corporations with profits over $100 million pay their fair share." 

Byer also said the bill would "sure that corporations who take advantage of our infrastructure and workers trained in American schools at taxpayer expense pull their weight." 

"It is time for these major corporations to pay their fair share by contributing to desperately needed investments in infrastructure, child care, and education that would benefit all Americans," Byer added.