White House Botches Their Own Infrastructure Plan

Conn Carroll
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Posted: Jan 05, 2015 4:10 PM
White House Botches Their Own Infrastructure Plan

While explaining why President Obama still does not support raising the gas tax, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest falsely claimed the president had a plan to permanently fix the bankrupt Highway Trust Fund. 

"There is revenue that could be gleamed from reforming the tax code and generating revenue that could be used to invest in infrastructure," Earnest said in response to a question about whether or not Obama's corporate tax reform created a permanent revenue stream for the Highway Trust Fund. "That's what our strategy is."

But according to a White House Fact Sheet on Obama's corporate tax reform plan, that is just not true. 

"Today, the President is calling for a pro-growth tax reform and jobs package that would be fully offset using one-time revenues raised as we transition to a new business tax system," the fact sheet reads. "The transition revenue would support much-needed investments such as modernizing our infrastructure; creating new manufacturing hubs; and training our workers with the skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow." (emphasis added)

Specifically, the Obama plan calls for "eliminating loopholes" in the corporate tax code and then using the revenues from those closed loopholes to reduce the corporate tax rate to from 35 percent to 28 percent. This part of the plan is advertised by the White House as being revenue neutral. 

But his plan also includes a one-time tax on offshore corporate profits that would bring in an estimated $150 billion. It is this one-time offshore corporate profit tax holiday revenue that Obama wants to use to temporarily shore up the Highway Trust Fund, which has needed general revenue bailouts since 2008.

There simply is no long-term Obama plan to fix the Highway Trust Fund.

Conservatives, however, do have such a plan. Already, state and local governments are responsible for 85 percent of all public infrastructure spending in the United States. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have a bill that would actually lower the gas tax, shrink the Highway Trust Fund, and return more infrastructure spending power to the states. 

This plan, Lee and Rubio argue, would not only prevent the federal government from taking 10 percent of all gas tax revenues for administration, but it would also free states from burdensome environmental and wage control regulations that drive up the cost of infrastructure projects.