WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama is making an opening bid on overhauling corporate taxes and linking it to boosting infrastructure spending, a move that could clear a rare path toward common ground in a deeply divided capital.
Mr. Obama wants U.S. companies to pay a 14% tax on the approximately $2 trillion of overseas earnings they have accumulated,
a White House official said Sunday. They would face a 19% minimum tax on future foreign profits.
Companies could reinvest those funds in the U.S. without paying additional tax.
Doug Holtz-Eakin, a conservative economist and former adviser to GOP presidential candidates, said the proposal appears to be a starting point for broader negotiations with lawmakers. “The good news seems to be that the administration has agreed that lockout
[of overseas profits] is an important phenomenon
,” said Mr. Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, a conservative think tank. He said he is concerned about the proposed tax-rate structure. “But let’s face it, it is an opening bid, not a result
,” he added.
Gene Sperling, a former top economic adviser to Mr. Obama, said criticism over where to set the rates should be taken in stride. “When people are putting out numbers, you’re opening up a process for negotiation
,” he said.