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Finding the Right Path to Encourage American Investment in 21st Century Infrastructure

March 15, 2017 AT&T Forum

This symposium on corporate tax reform featured a discussion with key policymakers, think tank representatives and other stakeholders on the complexities, opportunities and challenges associated with advancing comprehensive corporate tax reform and its impact on infrastructure investment.

Congressional Road Map: 2017 Corporate Tax Reform

  • Barbara Angus — Chief Tax Counsel, House Ways and Means Committee
  • Aruna Kalyanam — Tax Counsel/Staff Director Tax Policy Committee, Minority, House Ways and Means Committee
  • Mark Prater — Deputy Staff Director/Chief Tax Counsel, Senate Finance Committee
  • Tiffany Smith — Chief Tax Counsel, Minority, Senate Finance Committee

Corporate Tax Reform: What does that mean for our Nation’s Infrastructure Investment?

  • Ron Busby — President/CEO, U.S. Black Chambers
  • Jennifer Fritzsche — Managing Director, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
  • Jason Furman — Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. — President/CEO, BLACK ENTERPRISE
  • Doug Holtz-Eakin — President, American Action Forum
  • John Stephens — Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, AT&T

Read speaker biographies here

Event Recap

We’re in the midst of an innovative and ever changing communications world, filled with startling new features and services and the promise of many more to come.  We’re already experiencing the benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) in connected cars and smart cities, with technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality (and certainly 5G) coming in just a few short years.

Believe it or not, tax reform will play a key role in bringing the vision and promise of 21st Century communications into reality.

As part of our commitment to bringing together policymakers, academia, and industry, yesterday, AT&T’s Policy Forum hosted some of the nation’s leading experts for a symposium on tax reform:  Finding the Right Path to Encourage Investment in 21st Century Infrastructure.  This event provided an outstanding opportunity to highlight how tax reform can spur investment and innovation in all of our communities.

We were excited to see our inaugural event used as an opportunity to underscore broad agreement on the need for corporate tax reform, including addressing the overall  corporate tax rate in the United States, which is the highest in the developed world.  This tilts the global competitive playing field against U.S. companies, and puts a significant drag on our economy.  As noted by John Stephens, AT&T’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, the way to grow our economy and create jobs is to make the U.S. tax code more competitive.  Lowering the corporate tax rate alone will have a substantial positive impact and, by some estimates, could grow the GDP at three or four percent.

In tackling this important issue, AT&T encourages policymakers to step above the fray and take a holistic view. Expensing capital expenditures, border adjustability, repatriation, and other technical issues are all important, but these very discrete, very technical issues should not stand in the way of fundamental reform of the tax code and lowering the overall tax rate.

Reforming the tax code also presents an opportunity to fuel job creation and growth for AT&T’s small business partners.  With more incentives to invest and innovate, AT&T and other broadband providers will naturally turn to a diverse array of small businesses that make up the supply chain for developing and deploying new technology and infrastructure throughout our nation.

AT&T looks forward to hosting many more events at the  Policy Forum and bringing all stakeholders together for a seat at the table to explore key issues that are vital to advance 21st Century networks and communications services in America.

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