There are many ways to pay for President Joe Biden's infrastructure and jobs bill without having to hike up corporate taxes, Sen. Rob Portman said Tuesday, while outlining several ideas that he said could come into play.
"There are other ways to do it without hurting American competitiveness which is what the tax increase would do," the Ohio Republican said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
When Biden took office, he added, he had said his administration wanted to bring Americans together, but their action didn't match the promise with the COVID bill that was pushed through with the use of reconciliation, and it appears that the infrastructure bill is heading the same way.
In addition, the bill, totaling over $2 trillion, only has 20% to 25% in it to fund construction of roads, bridges, and other projects, said Portman.
"On the other hand, they are starting to say they'd like to work with us," said Portman. "We'd love to work with (them) on real infrastructure. That makes sense if you are doing an infrastructure package until you come up with ways to pay for it that isn't going to hurt American workers, which is what their tax hikes will do."
Instead, traditional infrastructure such as for water, broadband, and more could include a user fee, such as gas tax and other excise taxes, "which could pay for half of it," said Portman. "
There are other ideas, including using some of the money that was in the COVID-19 bill, "much of which, as you know, have not gone out the door yet," said Portman. "The majority has not been spent."
There are many states, municipalities, and counties that are looking for ways to spend the money they have coming in, and would like to spend it on local match funding to help with new infrastructure funding, he continued.
"They would like to have the flexibility to use this for crumbling infrastructure," said Portman. "That's an interesting idea. Second is electric vehicles. Why should they not pay anything for the use of roads or bridges? Being the owner of a hybrid truck, I should pay something in addition to what I'm paying for gas."
Portman also said Tuesday he thinks there will be additional proposals for tax increases, which will hurt small businesses and the economy.
"So far it's corporate taxes, which makes us non-competitive after we finally got competitive and after we finally put in place tax provisions that increased investment in the United States," said Portman. He added that $1.6 trillion of earnings came back from overseas before COVID-19 and after former President, Donald Trump's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act came into play.
"We also had increases in R&D, a 20% increase of research and development among the biggest companies and 20% improvement in infrastructure spending," said Portman. "Companies were themselves putting more money into capital assets. We also had the lowest property rate in our history and unemployment at 3.5% Things were going well and some of it was attributed to the tax relief and the tax reform."
Tax hikes, though, "would be exactly the wrong thing to do as we try to recover from the pandemic," said Portman.
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