Senate Candidates Differ on Plans to Lure International Business


The two candidates for Wisconsin’s open Senate seat differ sharply on how to get international corporations to create more jobs in the U.S.

One of the key pieces of former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson’s tax platform would let international corporations bring their overseas profits back to the U.S. without paying the normal 35 percent corporate tax rate. Thompson refers to it regularly on the stump. “I want to be able to repatriate a trillion dollars offshore and put it into the economy, so that we’re going to be able to grow this economy, create jobs.”

Thompson says it is a way to inject money in the U.S. economy without government support, but the idea is not a new one. A so-called “one-time” tax holiday was tried in 2004, and it did not result in a hiring binge.

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Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin says the proposal highlights a larger issue–the way the U.S. tax code makes it easier for companies to ship jobs overseas. She says, “I don’t think Tommy Thompson has the solution. I think we have to look at all the perverse incentives that are in our tax code that lead folks to take US jobs and put them elsewhere. We’ve seen too many Wisconsin workers lose their jobs.”

Baldwin supports a proposal that would remove any tax incentives for moving jobs overseas.While the plan had some bipartisan support, it recently failed in the U.S. Senate, with one Republican leader suggesting the plan prioritized politics, not economics.