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Lobbyists Gear Up for Corporate Tax Fight

Nothing motivates Members of Congress like a looming deadline. So K Streeters who are pushing for a lower corporate tax rate have started an aggressive lobbying campaign to tick down the final days until the United States’ rate becomes the highest.

On April 1, Japan’s corporate tax rate will decrease, leaving the U.S. rate of about 35 percent the highest around, lobbyists working the issue say. President Barack Obama recently released a proposal to lower the rate, but getting a deal on Capitol Hill won’t be easy in an election year.

“We’re going to keep up the attention on the issue and hopefully make the point that it’s not such a good thing for the United States to have the highest corporate tax rate in the world,” said Elaine Kamarck, who co-chairs the Reforming America’s Taxes Equitably Coalition.

Kamarck said that RATE has planned ongoing Hill visits next week.

And RATE also is taking a more high-tech approach to its advocacy effort.

On Thursday, it released a Web countdown widget that organizations such as the National Retail Federation are blasting out to their members and supporters. The widget also will start counting up on April 1 so that people can track how long the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate.

A RATE spokesman said that the group also plans additional multimedia tools including a video launching Monday.

In addition to RATE’s efforts, other big business groups are joining in the fight.

The Business Roundtable, for one, is kicking off its own push toward April 1 this week. That campaign includes dispatching Business Roundtable executives and its members to Capitol Hill for meetings with lawmakers. It is also doing advertising and media outreach as well as social media efforts and upcoming meetings with Members of Congress and business leaders back in the Congressional districts during the April recess.

“The U.S. corporate tax system is an outdated, overly complex patchwork of rules that is stifling economic growth in America,” said John Engler, president of Business Roundtable, in a press statement. “As America sits and watches all other major nations lower their corporate tax rate, we’re sending business away from the U.S. and creating more hurdles to American job growth.

“This campaign will reinforce with the Congress the need to make this issue an urgent priority,” Engler added.

On April 2, RATE is organizing an event to draw attention to the issue at Ohio State University in Columbus along with Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-Ohio).

Acknowledging that nothing is likely to happen before the April 1 deadline, Kamarck said she hopes that once it hits, Members will feel the pressure to move quickly.

“We hope this might spur both parties to take some action even though it is an election year,” she said. “We’re actually hopeful that we can do what nobody expects to be done: actually achieve something in an election year.”

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