National Association of Manufacturers’ Jay Timmons warns against return to ‘archaic’ tax policies


Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, used his annual address on the state of the industry to warn against returning to “archaic” tax policies and enacting pro-union legislation championed by Democrats.

Mr. Timmons touted the progress the manufacturing industry has made amid the coronavirus pandemic and endorsed putting new money into infrastructure projects like roads, electric grids, and high-speed internet.

He called for a focus on “tomorrow” and not “yesterday.”

“It means investing boldly in the infrastructure of the future, without going back to the archaic tax policies of the past,” Mr. Timmons said in his 2021 “State of Manufacturing” address, which aired Friday. “America can lead the world in modern infrastructure … and, at the same time, we can keep a tax code that allows us to continue creating manufacturing jobs right here — right here in America.”

He warned against federal legislation that would impose “card check,” where employees petition an employer to form a union by getting a majority of workers to sign authorization cards.

Critics say the move curbs the use of secret ballots for union elections and that House-passed legislation, dubbed the PRO Act, makes it too easy for workers to do an end-around by alleging employer interference to the National Labor Relations Board.

President Biden wants to finance his $4 trillion-plus domestic spending agenda by increasing the U.S. corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% and hiking individual income tax rates on upper-income taxpayers and investors.

A 2017 tax law passed by congressional Republicans and signed by former President Trump lowered the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and slashed individual income tax rates across the board.

Mr. Timmons‘ group released a new study on Friday that found an increase in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 25%, combined with other corporate and individual income tax hikes, would kill 1 million jobs within two years.

Mr. Biden has indicated he’s open to compromise on the corporate tax rate. Some Democrats, including Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, have talked up a 25% rate.

Mr. Timmons‘ group has floated hikes in the gas tax and a new miles-driven tax as potential sources of revenue to fund new infrastructure spending without increasing corporate or individual tax rates.

The president has been cool on such “user fees,” saying the middle class will likely bear the brunt of them.

The White House has said studies that are more bearish on the stimulative effects of the president’s economic agenda don’t properly factor in the positive economic effects of provisions like child care and free community college.

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