The Conversation: Leiser backs Biden's plan to tax corporations for infrastructure improvements

April 2, 2021 The Conversation

In a recent opinion for The Conversation, tax policy expert Stephanie Leiser provides evidence to increase the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% to pay for President Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan. This increase would still be below levels between World War II and 2017. Historically, corporate taxes as a share of U.S. revenue has declined since 1943 (when it peaked at about 40%), and now shoulder just 7% of the nation's tax burden.  

Leiser writes that the Biden plan reflects the benefits principle, the basic reasoning behind the creation of the corporate tax in 1909 that we know today. "I think the president’s plan appeals to the basic principle of tax fairness that the corporate income tax was founded on: The taxes a person or business pays should be commensurate with the benefits they receive from public spending. And companies receive quite a lot." 

Corporations would benefit a great deal from infrastructure improvements. 

She reminds us, "The benefits principle justification for taxing corporations relies on the logic of procedural justice - an emphasis on the fairness of the process rather than the outcome. If corporate balance sheets benefit from public investment, procedural justice dictates that their taxes should reflect that benefit, even if those costs and benefits are ultimately passed on to individuals."

You can read the full piece in The Conversation here, which was picked up by the Houston Chronicle.


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