Business Coalition Spends Millions to Lobby Against Biden’s Proposed Tax Hikes

Over half of business associations affiliated with a new coalition to oppose Democratic efforts to raise taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations spent over $3 million in lobbying expenditures in the first quarter of 2021. The coalition of 28 associations formed in late May.

The alliance, America’s Job Creators for a Strong Recovery, will oppose all legislation aimed at increasing taxes on corporations and businesses, arguing that tax hikes would impede the U.S. economy’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lobbying effort comes while President Joe Biden is trying to sell his infrastructure plan that would raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. Biden backed down from that tax hike after GOP members said they would not agree to the tax increases. The president stuck to his proposal to close corporate tax loopholes and ensure companies pay at least a 15% tax on profits earned abroad. The infrastructure bill, dubbed the “American Jobs Plan,” would fund projects including broadband, transportation, updating the electric grid and more.

Republicans critiqued Biden’s infrastructure plan’s proposed tax hikes and instead created their own $978 billion infrastructure plan that would divert funds from other government agencies. However, Biden expressed disappointment in the GOP proposal and said the alternative plan would not meet the needs of the country, and began new negotiations with a bipartisan group of senators.

The National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors spearheaded the creation of the coalition against tax hikes. The group spent over $165,000 on lobbying in the first financial quarter of 2021. Eric Hoplin, president and CEO of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, told CNBC he and others in the group support a smart infrastructure plan, but do not support raising taxes to pay for it.

“The record tax hikes that Democrats are seeking to ram through could not come at a worse time for America’s job creators who are just beginning to recover from a crippling pandemic,” Hoplin told CNBC. “Employers support a smart infrastructure to ensure America’s 21st century competitiveness, but it shouldn’t be used as a Trojan horse to enact record high taxes on America’s individually and family-owned businesses.”

One member of the alliance, the Associated Builders and Contractors, spent $700,000 in lobbying in the first quarter of the year, $80,000 more than the same quarter in 2020. The group has lobbied against the American Rescue Plan Act, another bill signed into law by the Biden administration. The American Hotel and Lodging Association, spent the second highest, totaling over $500,000 in lobbying expenditures this year so far.

At least nine members of the coalition also lobbied on behalf of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, including the American Hotel and Lodging Association, American Rental Association, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, and Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America.

The coalition plans to target Democrats running in swing states across the country. Most of their paid messaging has focused on Democratic Arizona Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema. The coalition has not yet released any fundraising goals.