Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world's wealthiest person, according to Forbes' annual list of billionaires, said Tuesday that he is in favor of President Joe Biden's proposed corporate tax increase to fund his sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure plan.
"We support the Biden Administration’s focus on making bold investments in American infrastructure," Bezos said in the statement. "Both Democrats and Republicans have supported infrastructure in the past, and it’s the right time to work together to make this happen."
"We recognize this investment will require concessions from all sides—both on the specifics of what’s included as well as how it gets paid for (we’re supportive of a rise in the corporate tax rate)," Bezos added. "We look forward to Congress and the Administration coming together to find the right, balanced solution that maintains or enhances U.S. competitiveness."
A main sticking point for Republican opponents of Biden's infrastructure plan, and some moderate Democrats, is the proposal to raise corporate taxes from 21% to 28% to pay for the bill. Moderate Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) joined Republicans Monday in saying the number was too high, instead telling a West Virginia Metro News radio show he’d support a 25% tax on corporations.
According to the Tax Foundation, the average corporate tax rate globally was 24% in 2020. Among G-20 nations, the average rate was nearly 27%. Former President Donald Trump lowered the rate to 21% from 35% in 2017, taking the U.S. from the highest among the 37 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to the 13th-highest.
Bezos is one of the highest-profile corporate leaders to issue a statement of support for Biden's measure, which comes after Biden called out the company for not paying federal taxes. In response, an Amazon spokesperson pointed to a Twitter post from Jay Carney, former White House Press Secretary under President Barack Obama, now Amazon's public policy and communications chief.
"If the R&D Tax Credit is a 'loophole,' it’s certainly one Congress strongly intended," Carney wrote. "The R&D Tax credit has existed since 1981, was extended 15 times with bi-partisan support and was made permanent in 2015 in a law signed by President Obama."
It also comes amid a critical union vote among workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, which Biden supported.
In a video posted to Twitter in February, Biden said: “Unions put power in the hands of workers. They level the playing field. They give you a strong voice, for your health, your safety, higher wages, protections from racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Unions lift up workers."
“I made it clear when I was running that my administration’s policy would be to support unions organizing and the right to collectively bargain,” Biden added. “I’m keeping that promise.”
The president warned that there should "no intimidation, no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda" during union elections.
“Let me be clear: It’s not up to me to decide if anyone should join a union. But let me be even more clear: It’s not up to an employer to decide that, either. The choice to join a union is up to the workers — full stop,” Biden said.
This is a developing story. Check back later for further updates.