Rubio and Lee pitch tax plan that lowers corporate, individual rates

Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah unveiled a tax plan Wednesday they say will boost growth by slashing rates on both corporations and individuals. Rubio, who is considering a presidential bid, said he would include the proposal in his platform - whether he runs for president or seeks another term as senator.

The plan, which Rubio and Lee outlined in the Wall Street Journal, would lower the maximum tax rate to 25 percent for both regular corporations and a type of company called an S-corporation, typically a small business that is organized to pass income directly to shareholders and to reduce the tax it pays on its profits. They say it would end the "double taxation" on capital gains and dividends and stops taxing overseas corporations, both at home and abroad. Businesses would be able to immediately deduct 100 percent of what they pay into new equipment, inventory upgrades or infrastructure improvements.

Under the plan, individual taxpayers would see the consolidation of the existing seven tax brackets into just two: 15 percent and 35 percent. Their proposal would also eliminate a quirk of the tax code called the "marriage penalty" that sometimes results in couples paying more when they file their taxes jointly than they would have if they remained single. On top of that, the plan would expand the child tax credit which the senators argue "helps level the playing field for working families."

"Our point here is to not necessarily trigger winners or losers in the tax code. Our hope here is to trigger economic growth. We believe that economic growth will help all Americans to improve how much money they make by creating better paying jobs, by making America the best place in the world for those better-paying jobs to be created," Rubio said in a press conference Monday where the two unveiled the plan.

"We rejected a false choice that only one goal of reform could be pursued at one time," Lee said. "We think this proposal is one of the most pro-growth plans available while also being one of the most pro-family plans at exactly the same time."

The two have been working on the plan for months, but they still aren't ready to introduce it as legislation. They said they plan to continue getting feedback from stakeholders.

The issue of email protocol was raised during the news conference, as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email address to conduct official business while secretary of state has come to light.

When Rubio was asked whether he'd use email if he were in the executive branch in 2017, his answer focused on security.

"You shouldn't put anything into email you don't thinks going to be read by a foreign intelligence agency. Especially if you're the president of the United States or a candidate for it, it's a real risk," he said. He added that "virtually every major presidential campaign in the last two cycles has been hacked by a foreign government or foreign intelligence to some extent, so there's a danger involved in communications because it gives your adversaries insight into your thinking and so forth."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for