BRT Chairman decried 35% top rate but his corporation paid only 6.5%
*UPDATE* This release has been amended and you can read updated version here.
WASHINGTON – Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, issued the following statement today in response to the news that Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, will step down from his position as chairman of the Business Roundtable.
Under Stephenson’s tenure, the Business Roundtable has operated a major public relations campaign to convince Americans that corporate taxes are too high. But Stephenson’s AT&T paid only a 6.5 percent U.S. income tax rate between 2008 and 2012. That’s less than one-fifth the top corporate rate. Nevertheless, Stephenson complained to The Washington Post that “we have the most uncompetitive tax system in the developed world.”
“Having the CEO of a major tax dodger as its chairman was a liability for the Business Roundtable,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “It’s hard for them to argue seriously for slashing corporate taxes when their chairman’s company already pays a lower tax rate than tens of millions of middle-class American families. Perhaps they realized that such hypocrisy would not help their cause with the American public.”
The Business Roundtable, an association of the CEOs of almost 200 large U.S. corporations, is part of a larger, aggressive effort to lower corporate taxes that is being led by major corporations and organizations that represent them – the RATE Coalition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Alliance for Competitive Taxation. The corporate coalitions complain that the top corporate tax rate (35 percent) is too high, but they omit the fact that the effective rates actually paid by major U.S. corporations are far lower. Profitable corporations paid U.S. income taxes amounting to just 12.6 percent of worldwide income in 2010, according to the Government Accountability Office. Profitable Fortune 500 paid an average federal tax rate of just 19.4 percent between 2008 and 2012, according to a widely-cited study by Citizens for Tax Justice. Twenty-six major corporations paid no federal income taxes over the entire five years.
Americans for Tax Fairness is a diverse coalition of 425 national and state organizations that collectively represent tens of millions of members. The organization was formed on the belief that the country needs comprehensive, progressive tax reform that results in greater revenue to meet our growing needs. ATF is playing a central role in Washington and in the states on federal tax-reform issues.