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Tuesday, August 20, 2019
HomePolicyThe Growing Need for Trump’s Proposed 15% Corporate Tax Rate

The Growing Need for Trump’s Proposed 15% Corporate Tax Rate

A construction worker exchanges a fist bump with pro-Trump supporters who gathered to cheer his election as President, Nov. 9, 2016, outside Trump Tower in New York. (Photo: AP/Associated Press)
A construction worker exchanges a fist bump with pro-Trump supporters who gathered to cheer his election as President, Nov. 9, 2016, outside Trump Tower in New York. (Photo: AP/Associated Press)

A construction worker exchanges a fist bump with pro-Trump supporters who gathered to cheer his election as President, Nov. 9, 2016, outside Trump Tower in New York. (Photo: AP/Associated Press)

There are several features of President-Elect Donald Trump’s tax plan that are worthy of praise, including death tax repeal, expensing, and lower marginal tax rates on households.

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.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is seen speaking on a television on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. U.S. stocks fluctuated in volatile trading in the aftermath of Trump's surprise presidential election win, as speculation the Republican will pursue business-friendly policies offset some of the broader uncertainty surrounding his ascent. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is seen speaking on a television on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. U.S. stocks fluctuated in volatile trading in the aftermath of Trump’s surprise presidential election win, as speculation the Republican will pursue business-friendly policies offset some of the broader uncertainty surrounding his ascent. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

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.

  1. A lower corporate tax rate won’t necessarily reduce corporate tax revenue, particularly over time as there’s more investment and job creation.
  2. A lower corporate tax rate will dramatically – if not completely – eliminate any incentive for American companies to engage in inversions.
  3. 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.

Or, to make matters simple, we can just copy Estonia, which has the world’s best system according to the Tax Foundation.

Written by
Contributing Economist

Daniel J. Mitchell is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, and a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy. Mitchell’s articles can be found in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Investor’s Business Daily, and the Washington Times. He is the author of "The Flat Tax: Freedom, Fairness, Jobs, and Growth," and co-author of "Global Tax Revolution: The Rise of Tax Competition and the Battle to Defend It."

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    WE can’t compete on the race to the bottom. We will never have lower wages than China, or be able to compete with a 3% tax rate of some countries.
    Trump hires mostly workers on foreign visas now, not citizens.

    You really want a country where jobs pay 3 bucks an hour with no benefits or overtime? That is what Trump wants, it will make him more money, so much he might even pay some taxes.

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