WASHINGTON – In a press release issued yesterday, Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) praised the Business Roundtable (BRT) for parting ways with chairman Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T. This was based on a misreading of a news report on the Business Roundtable’s appointment of Mark Weinberger, Chairman and CEO of Ernst and Young Global, to chair the BRT’s Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee. Mr. Stephenson is not stepping down from his position as chairman of the Business Roundtable.
Nevertheless, Americans for Tax Fairness stands by its argument that the BRT’s campaign to lower corporate tax rates is substantially weakened by having as its chairman the CEO of a major corporate tax dodger. Stephenson’s AT&T paid only a 6.5 percent U.S. income tax rate between 2008 and 2012, according to Citizens for Tax Justice. At the same time, the Business Roundtable has attacked the current top corporate tax rate – 35% – omitting the fact that many large corporations pay far lower rates and some pay nothing.
“We had meant to congratulate the Business Roundtable for putting some distance between itself and the CEO of a corporation that between 2008 and 2012 paid less than one-fifth of the top corporate tax rate,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “We continue to think that it will be difficult for the BRT to plausibly argue for lowering corporate tax rates when its chairman’s company pays a lower rate than many middle-class families.”
Americans for Tax Fairness is a diverse coalition of 425 national and state organizations that collectively represent tens of millions of members. The organization was formed on the belief that the country needs comprehensive, progressive tax reform that results in greater revenue to meet our growing needs. ATF is playing a central role in Washington and in the states on federal tax-reform issues.