“Go bold, go permanent, and go now” – that’s the message Rep. Kevin Brady, Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee of the United States House of Representatives, has heard from citizens around the country on tax reform. And Rep. Brady believes there is a good chance bold, permanent tax reform can happen this year precisely because of widespread, bipartisan acknowledgment that the current U.S. tax system hurts everyday Americans and puts U.S. businesses at a competitive disadvantage in the world economy.
As part of our continuing commitment to bringing together policymakers, academia, and industry, AT&T hosted a town hall on tax reform, featuring a conversation between AT&T Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson and Rep. Brady. This town hall event, live-streamed on the AT&T Policy Forum website, provided an excellent opportunity to hear about Rep. Brady’s work on a tax reform proposal, and it allowed Rep. Brady to hear directly from AT&T employees, suppliers, and audience members.
The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, and AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson noted how such a high tax rate has resulted in “record low levels” of productivity and capital investments as a percentage of the U.S. economy at the “lowest level since World War II.” To Mr. Stephenson, there is no catalyst as important as tax reform that can stimulate investment to new heights. And more investment means greater productivity and increased wage growth for American workers to help fuel economic growth for the nation.
Rep. Brady described the tax reform proposal that he and other policymakers in Congress are working on right now — a revised tax code “so simple that nine out of ten Americans will be able to file taxes using a simple postcard-style system.” Rep. Brady described a proposal that will result in “the lowest tax rates on business in modern history,” as well as conducting “a complete redesign” of the tax code so that U.S. companies can compete and win anywhere in the world. And finally, Rep. Brady also described some of the positive impacts of reforming the tax code. For example, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation has determined that tax reform could raise the U.S. Growth Domestic Product by more than 9%, lift wages by nearly 8%, and add some 1.7 million jobs to the U.S. economy.
AT&T has already committed to stepping up its already massive investment program should tax reform succeed, and Mr. Stephenson again reiterated AT&T’s promise to deliver more investment. And if policymakers can “go bold, go permanent, and go now,” consumers in the U.S. and abroad can expect to see a dazzling explosion of innovation and new services as a direct result of tax reform.
AT&T is grateful to have had the opportunity to host Rep. Brady, and we look forward to engaging with members of Congress and other policymakers to support a bold, permanent tax reform package now.