WASHINGTON (AP) — Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos endorsed President Joe Biden's focus on building up the country's infrastructure Tuesday and said the company even supports a corporate tax rate hike to help pay for it.
Bezos' statement, posted on the company's website, was notable because it came after Biden singled out the company for criticism about how much it pays in federal taxes when he recently unveiled his $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal. Biden has proposed hiking the U.S. corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent to help pay for his plan, an idea that Republican leaders are panning as harmful to economic growth. Democrats will surely cite support from individual companies to undercut that argument.
"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. "We look forward to Congress and the Administration coming together to find the right, balanced solution that maintains or enhances U.S. competitiveness."
Bezos was careful not to endorse a specific plan. Rather, he said "we support the Biden Administration's focus on making bold investments in American infrastructure."
The company would benefit from the investments made in roads, bridges, airports and broadband. Business groups have joined in the call for more public works investment by the federal government, but they have generally balked at Biden's call for raising the corporate income tax, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce describing Biden's proposal as "dangerously misguided when it comes to how to pay for infrastructure."
Along with partially undoing the corporate tax cut put in place during President Donald Trump's administration, Biden also wants to set a minimum U.S. tax on overseas corporate income, and to make it harder for companies to shift earnings offshore. Amazon has long been criticized for paying virtually no federal taxes in the U.S. for years even as it built an e-commerce empire that currently has a market value of $1.6 trillion.
That has changed slightly in recent years as the Seattle company has become more profitable. Last year, it reported paying $1.7 billion in federal taxes on its U.S. income of $20.2 billion, working out to an effective tax rate of about eight percent.
AP Business Writer Michael Liedtke in San Ramon, California, contributed to this report.