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Government and Politics

Portman parts with Obama on just what tax reform means
Ohio senator is among those who argues no new money must come from the overhaul of business taxes

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M.L. Schultze
Sen. Rob Portman says tax reform must be revenue-neutral for U.S. business to be competative.
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Ohio’s Republican Sen. Rob Portman has been calling for a reform of the U.S. tax structure since he took office in 2011. But, as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, he’s less than excited about President Obama’s call for the same thing.

LISTEN: Where Portman and Obama part

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President Obama is talking about an overhaul of business taxes – a grand bargain that would lower corporate tax rates to boost global competitiveness and jobs.

 In general terms, that could be Rob Portman speaking. The first-term senator, former congressman and the budget director for President George W. Bush has made tax reform a consistent part of his platform.

But Portman parts with the president over Obama’s call for new revenue springing from the overhaul to be used on public infrastructure projects, including roads and bridges.

Portman says he thought the president already had agreed there would be no extra money.

“My concern about the president’s proposal  is that is sounds like he is going back on his previous commitment to make the business side of this revenue neutral, in other words not raise more money from it, but rather reinvest it in lower rates and a smarter international system.”

But Obama says any grand bargain must include a “significant investment in creating middle-class jobs.” His proposal includes a fee on foreign profits that would cover most of his $50 billion in employment proposals, including the public works projects, manufacturing institutes and community college training for workers. 

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