But the policy that probably deserves the most attention is Trump’s embrace of a 15 percent tax rate for business. What makes this policy so attractive – and vitally important – is that the rest of the world has been in a race to reduce corporate tax burdens.
Ironically, the U.S. helped start the race by cutting the corporate tax rate as part of the 1986 Tax Reform Act. But ever since then, policy in America has stagnated while other developed nations are engaged in a virtuous contest to become more competitive.
And that race continues every day.
Most impressively, as reported by the Financial Times, Hungary will cut its corporate tax rate from 19 percent to 9 percent.
Hungary’s government is to cut its corporate tax rate to the lowest level in the EU in a sign of increasingly competitive tax practices among countries seeking to lure foreign direct investment. Prime Minister Viktor Orban said a new 9 per cent corporate tax rate would be introduced in 2017, significantly lower than Ireland’s 12.5 per cent. …The government said the new single band would apply to all businesses. “Corporation tax will be lowered to single digits next year: a rate of 9 per cent will apply equally to small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations,” a statement said. …Gabor Bekes, senior research fellow at Hungary’s Institute of Economics…said the measure would likely provoke complaints of unfair tax competition from western capitals.
Needless to say, complaints from Paris, Rome, and Berlin would be a sign that Hungary is doing the right thing.
Croatia also is moving policy in the right direction, albeit in a less aggressive fashion.
Corporate income tax will…be cut from 20 to 18 per cent for large companies and from 20 to 12 per cent for small and mid-level companies whose income is no higher than 400,000 euros annually.
Though the Croatian government also plans to lower tax rates on households.
Before the reform, people with salaries between 300 and 1,750 euros a month were taxed at 25 per cent, while now everyone earning up to 2,325 euros a month will be taxed at a 24 per cent rate. People earning more than 2,325 euros a month will have a 36 per cent tax rate, replacing a 40 per cent tax rate for anyone earning over 1,750 euros a month.
But let’s keep the focus on business taxation.
Our friends on the left don’t like Trump’s plan for a corporate tax cut, but here are there things they should know.
- A lower corporate tax rate won’t necessarily reduce corporate tax revenue, particularly over time as there’s more investment and job creation.
- A lower corporate tax rate will dramatically – if not completely – eliminate any incentive for American companies to engage in inversions.
- A lower corporate tax rate will boost workers wages by increasing the nation’s capital stock and thus improving productivity.
If you want more information, here’s my primer on corporate taxation. You can also watch this video.