Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California are working on a bipartisan piece of legislation that would tax up to $2 trillion in corporate profits located in foreign banks to pay for the nation’s nearly bankrupt Highway Trust Fund.
The bill would set a 6.5 percent tax rate on revenue that corporations bring back to the United States willingly to increase funding for the Fund which expires on May 31, The Hill reported.
In a statement, Sen. Gardner appealed to the needs of citizens in his home state for Colorado’s current and future transportation projects.
“Extending the Highway Trust Fund is of critical importance for all Coloradans, and is a bipartisan priority," he said. "Providing much needed additions to this critical fund through a repatriation program is a vastly superior solution than imposing additional taxes on Coloradans. This bill would bring money currently held abroad back into our economy, while funding the key transportation investments our communities and businesses need to move forward."
The traditional method to pay for road construction projects has been the federal gasoline tax, currently set at 18.4 cents per gallon. Some lawmakers have considered voting on a raise of that tax, but many have objected, as well.
“We are not going to raise gas taxes,” Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said on April 30. Rep. Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee, is the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which controls the budgeting and finances of the government. Ryan objected to the idea of repatriating funds, saying it would only be a temporary fix, USA Today wrote.
For the fiscal year, the Fund is facing a $16 billion budget shortfall, which lawmakers are currently debating on how to pay for. Expensive labor costs and more fuel-efficient vehicles are some of the reasons the Fund has not seen higher returns in recent years.
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