Don’t talk about it….do it

Last night we heard from President Obama and Speaker Boehner about their ideas for addressing deficit reduction and raising the debt ceiling. The President spoke about the need to close corporate tax loopholes and end offshore tax haven abuse—issues that you have heard me talk about many times.

Unfortunately, neither deficit reduction plan on the table from Democrats or Republicans addresses the crucial problem of U.S.-based multinational companies avoiding paying taxes.

This afternoon I took part in a conference call media briefing with Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett who is introducing his “Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act” in the House today. Two weeks ago I was in DC doing the same thing in person with Michigan Senator Carl Levin.

Below are the remarks I made today.  Click here to hear the audio from the media briefing.

I’m Frank Knapp, president, CEO and co-founder, of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. I am also speaking on behalf of the national coalition, Business and Investors Against Tax Haven Abuse (

Last week I received a call from a reporter from The Hill and he wanted to know what the Administration and Congress could do to really help small businesses.

I told him that the number one thing that Washington can do is to help create more consumers. But instead of putting more money into our state and local economies that will create jobs and thus more customers for the goods and services of small businesses, today we are discussing cutting the federal budget which will take more money away from Main Street.

It is my understanding that both the Republican and Democratic deficit reduction plans call for $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending cuts over the next decade. Fortunately the Democratic plan doesn’t touch Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security—programs that pump money directly into our local economies and thus help our small businesses.

But both plans fail to pick the low hanging fruit of an estimated $1 trillion that could be used to reduce the deficit without cutting any non-defense discretionary spending which has already been cut.  I’m talking about corporate tax loopholes and overseas tax havens used by U.S.-based multinational corporations to avoid paying taxes. The President talked about the need to address this problem last night, but putting words into action at this time is not on the table.

We’re talking about $1 trillion of taxes not being collected to help pay for our national defense, infrastructure, courts and education system. That means that small businesses and individual taxpayers pay more taxes to subsidize these giant corporations that depend on these government services. This unfair situation has small businesses and all Americans angry and demanding change.

In addition, multinational corporations not paying their fair share of taxes gives them an unfair competitive advantage over our small businesses because we pay our taxes.

Both political parties need to wake up and start listening to Representative Lloyd Doggett and Senator Carl Levin about what is vital in a deficit reduction plan—tax reform that makes multinational corporations pay their taxes.

It’s time to close the tax loopholes and tax havens that deprive us of much needed revenue and reward big corporations for hiding profits and exporting jobs that we all know American workers and our economy need now more than ever.

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