Corporations must pay their fair share if we want a 21st Century infrastructure

June 24, 2021 1:19 pm

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden addresses a crowd at a town hall event at Clinton College on August 29, 2019, in Rock Hill, S.C. Photo by Sean Rayford | Getty Images

Here in Arizona, we are focused on the future. Innovation is at the heart of everything we do — and President Joe Biden’s American Jobs and Families Plans will bring our state into the 21st Century by investing billions into our crumbling roads and bridges, pumping money into small businesses, gaining crucial funding for care workers who look after disabled and elderly Arizonans, and more. 

But Senate Republicans are pushing for a watered-down infrastructure package that lacks the investments we need to meet this moment — all to protect their corporate donors from paying their fair share in taxes. While Arizona is on the verge of a post-pandemic resurgence, we need to pass the American Jobs and Families Plans and raise the corporate tax rate to get us there. 

By doing so, we can remove the lead in our drinking water, provide communities with broadband access, and create resilient, green infrastructure. Biden will pay for these critical investments by bumping the corporate tax rate, which was reduced from 35% to 25% in 2017, to 28%. The administration’s proposal will also repeal the rule Republicans put in place in 2017 that incentivized US companies to ship jobs overseas. Big business has been given a free pass for the past four years, but the American Jobs Plan will shift the burden off hard-working Americans and ensure corporate America is pitching in — just like the rest of us. 

Republicans, however, seem more interested in protecting corporate profits than supporting the middle class. They want to pay for infrastructure by making hard-working Americans foot the bill with an increased gas tax, higher tolls, and other user fees. In addition, the Republicans want to claw back millions in COVID-19 relief funds for state and local governments under the American Rescue Plan. Those sorely needed funds are keeping teachers, public-works employees, and first responders employed. But Republicans want to force hard-working Americans to pick up the tab so that elected officials can continue to shell out tax breaks for corporate donors that ship jobs overseas.

The fact is, Americans of all political stripes support the American Jobs Plan by overwhelming margins. According to recent polling, 79% of voters — including 78% of Independents and 59% of Republicans — support raising corporate taxes to fund infrastructure investments. In addition, 65% of voters support raising taxes on individuals making over $400,000 a year to pay for infrastructure improvements. Americans are demanding we address the inequities that our current system creates. 

It is long past time for middle-class workers to be our first priority.

The American Jobs Plan will invest in affordable housing, clean energy, and small businesses. And the only equitable way to fund these investments is through raising the corporate tax rate and creating an economy that supports the middle class. 

I urge Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema to reject any proposal that protects tax breaks for corporations and leaves middle-class Americans in the lurch. After decades of deteriorating infrastructure, let us seize the day and revitalize Arizona and equip our communities with the resources we need to thrive.

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Lauren Kuby
Lauren Kuby

Lauren Kuby is serving her second term on the Tempe City Council. She is a longtime advocate for worker protections, equity, and climate-change action and is recognized as a national champion for cities as incubators of innovation.