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President Barack Obama seeks overhaul of corporate tax rates

President puts stamp on high-profile election year issue.
By JIM KUHNHENN Published: February 23, 2012
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— President Barack Obama rolled out a corporate tax overhaul plan Wednesday that lowers rates but also eliminates loopholes and subsidies cherished by the business world. A long-shot for action in an election year, the plan nevertheless stamps Obama's imprint on one of the most high-profile issues of the presidential campaign.

The president's plan to lower the corporate tax rate to 28 percent came on the same day Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney called for a 20 percent across-the-board cut in personal income tax rates, underscoring the potency of taxes as a political issue.

Obama has not laid out a plan for overhauling personal income taxes. But he has called for Bush era tax cuts to end on individuals making more than $200,000, thus increasing their taxes, and for a 30 percent minimum tax on taxpayers who make $1 million or more.

System called unfair

Obama decried the current corporate tax system as outdated, unfair and inefficient. “It's not right and it needs to change,” he said in a statement.

The president would reduce the current 35 percent corporate tax, which is the highest in the world after Japan but which many corporations avoid by taking advantage of deductions, credits and exemptions. Under his plan, manufacturers would receive incentives so that they would pay an even lower effective tax rate of 25 percent.

Oil, gas subsidies cut

His plan would eliminate corporate tax benefits such as oil and gas industry subsidies and special breaks for buying private jets — two provisions that Obama has long targeted — and do away with certain corporate tax shelters.

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