Brown: Tax Reform Should Encourage Companies to Invest in Workers

Senator Wants to Reward Companies that Keep Jobs in U.S., Pay Workers Well, Create Corporate Freeloader Fee to Reimburse Taxpayers when Mega-Corporations Force Taxpayers to Subsidize Wages

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today continued his call for American workers to be a priority in upcoming negotiations over reforming the tax code. At a Finance Committee hearing today, Brown said he wants tax reform to focus on what’s best for American workers – not what’s best for corporations and their CEOs.

“We’ve heard far too much talk about what’s good for corporations and not enough talk about what’s best for American workers – and it’s American workers who’ve been hurt by our tax policy and our trade policy in the last 20 years,” said Brown. “We need to encourage companies to invest in their greatest asset – the American worker.”

As part of Brown’s plan to make hard work pay off for Ohioans, Brown has offered a pair of bills that would encourage companies to invest in their workers.

  1. The Patriot Employers Tax Credit would reward employers who keep jobs in the United States and pay workers well – encouraging them to create even more good-paying jobs in the U.S.
  2. The Corporate Freeloader Fee would require corporations that pay workers so little that their workers are forced onto government assistance programs to reimburse taxpayers for the cost.

Just last week, Brown spoke out against efforts to the tax retirement savings of middle-class families today, promising “one hell of a fight” during a hearing on individual tax reform.

The Patriot Employers Tax Credit would create a tax credit for companies that maintain U.S. headquarters, pay workers an hourly wage of $15 per hour, and provide workers with adequate healthcare and retirement options. The bill also requires employers to make up the difference in regular and military compensation for National Guard and Reserve employees who are called for active duty. The tax credit equals 10 percent of the first $15,000 of wages earned by each employee.

The Corporate Freeloader Fee applies only to mega-corporations who file at least $100,000 in payroll taxes with the IRS daily for at least 180 days straight. It would not apply to Ohio small businesses. The Corporate Freeloader Fee levies a fee based on the number of employees at a company who earn less than 218 percent of the federal poverty rate, or $26,250 in 2017. The fee increases as the percentages of a company’s workforce who earn less than a living goes up. Companies can reduce fees by providing healthcare benefits and making contributions to employee retirement plans.

Senator Brown has introduced legislation to crack down on corporations who ship jobs overseas. The Pay What You Owe Before You Go Act would require corporations who want to shift their headquarters overseas for tax purposes to pay their full U.S. tax bill on all deferred overseas profits before reincorporating in a new country. He’s also supporting the Stop Corporate Inversions Act, which would close a tax loophole that allows U.S. companies to acquire smaller foreign companies and move their tax home to a foreign jurisdiction as part of the overall transaction to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Earlier this year, as part of his plan to restore the value of work, Brown also introduced legislation to provide employees advanced notice of their work schedules, expand two anti-poverty tax credits that help put money back in the pockets of working Ohioans and families, and provide paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave

Brown and his office have been working on this plan since the fall of 2015. Some of the policies outlined in Brown’s plan are new ideas. Others Democrats have talked about before, but they’ve never been laid out as part of a broader agenda to restore the value of work for all Americans.

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