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Amazon’s Bezos says he supports a higher corporate tax rate to pay for Biden’s infrastructure plan

April 6, 2021, 10:11 PM UTC

Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said on Tuesday that he supports an increase in the U.S. corporate tax rate, as well as the major investments in the country’s infrastructure that the higher taxes would help fund.

Last week, President Biden announced a $1.9 trillion plan that includes an upgrade to the country’s aging bridges, roads, public transit, airports, and other infrastructure. As an e-commerce business operating a massive delivery and logistics network, Amazon depends heavily on such infrastructure.

To pay for these massive public projects, Biden has proposed hiking the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%, earning him promises of a big fight from Republicans. That new rate would still be well below the 35% maximum rate that was in effect before the tax code was overhauled under former President Trump in 2017.

“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 wrote in a statement sent out via Amazon’s Twitter account. That statement said the plan would make “bold investments in American infrastructure.” Bezos didn’t quantify how big a tax hike he’d support.

The support for a higher tax rate is notable because of Biden’s repeated criticisms of Amazon in recent years for not paying what he said was its fair share—criticisms he aired as recently as last Wednesday. (Amazon responded at the time by saying the research and development credits it had used to reduce its tax bill had bipartisan support and were well established.) Biden also expressed support last month for Amazon workers seeking to unionize.

Bezos has also supported Biden’s push for a $15 minimum hourly wage, a rate that Amazon already pays. A national minimum wage would likely have the benefit of putting pressure on some of Amazon’s competitors, including Walmart, whose lowest wage is $11 an hour.

According to calculations in February by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Amazon didn’t come anywhere close to paying the current 21% rate on the record profits it earned in 2020 . ITEP, which last week took to task 55 major corporations for paying no taxes at all, said that Amazon’s effective tax rate was 9.4%, meaning it used deductions, credits, and other accounting strategies to avoid $2.3 billion in taxes

Bezos ranked No. 1 on the new Forbes billionaire list published Tuesday with an estimated net worth of $177 billion.