WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A co-author of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s tax plan called on Congress Wednesday to pursue corporate tax reform as a bipartisan “jobs” bill that could finance a massive new infrastructure program while slashing business tax rates.
Stephen Moore, a Heritage Foundation fellow who advised the Trump campaign, said he would recommend that Trump pursue tax reform along two tracks, by focusing on business taxes in his first 150 days and leaving the politically more challenging task of reforming individual taxes for later.
Trump and Republicans in Congress are trying to hammer out a legislative agenda on tax reform.
Moore, at a forum hosted by Politico, called for a plan that would attract Democratic support, suggesting an outcome that could deviate markedly from the House of Representatives blueprint promoted by Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican.
Trump’s proposal would reduce the official corporate tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent, allow corporations to repatriate overseas profits at a 10 percent rate and reduce the top individual tax rate to 33 percent from 39.6 percent.
Moore estimated that the cuts would lead to a revenue loss of about $3 trillion over 10 years, for which Trump would compensate with spending cuts. But he said it would broaden the tax base by adding 1 percent of growth to the U.S. economy.
“That’s the plan: try to pass a tax cut ... and then make up the difference by cutting government spending,” he said.
But some analysts warn of a bigger toll. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center forecasts that the Trump plan would cause the federal debt to soar by $7 trillion over its first decade, including added interest costs and macroeconomic effects.
Trump and Congress would be able to sell the legislation as a job creation bill by linking corporate tax reform to infrastructure spending, Moore said. The combination would also increase the chances of gaining support from Democrats, who have favored such a link.
“I would label this a jobs bill,” Moore said.
Moore estimated that taxing repatriated overseas corporate profits could raise $100 billion to $150 billion for infrastructure spending. U.S. corporations are estimated to have $2.6 trillion in profits stashed overseas.
He spoke to House Republican whip Steve Scalise and other lawmakers on Tuesday about using reform to fund infrastructure.
“The disagreements, I think, on the Republican side of the aisle, are very easily reconcilable,” he said.
Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by James Dalgleish