Amazon's Jeff Bezos supports Biden infrastructure bill and corporate tax increase

Company has recently been slammed for not paying federal income tax

An Amazon worker walks in an Amazon Delivery Station parking lot in Miami, Florida. EPA
An Amazon worker walks in an Amazon Delivery Station parking lot in Miami, Florida. EPA

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said he supported investing in US infrastructure and an increase in the corporate tax rate to help pay for it.

Weighing in as politicians debate the Biden administration’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan, the Amazon founder said his company backs “making bold investments in American infrastructure”, but stopped short of endorsing the president’s proposal.

“We recognise this investment will require concessions from all sides – both on the specifics of what’s included as well as how it gets paid for (we’re supportive of a rise in the corporate tax rate),” Mr Bezos said in a brief statement posted to Amazon’s corporate blog site.

“We look forward to Congress and the administration coming together to find the right, balanced solution that maintains or enhances US competitiveness.”

Amazon traditionally avoids hot-button political issues that aren’t directly tied to its business to avoid alienating customers. But the company has been caught up in the debate about infrastructure and how to pay for it.

Just last week, Mr Biden cited Amazon as an example of a company that didn’t pay any federal income tax, drawing a contrast with people unable to cut their tax bills to zero.

Jay Carney, a Biden staffer during the Obama administration who today leads Amazon’s lobbying and communications teams, addressed the critique on Twitter, saying that Amazon had reduced its tax burden with credits meant to incentivise spending on research and development.

Amazon historically has low profit margins, in part because it reinvests most revenue back into the company. This reduces the burden of corporate taxes based on profit, makes Amazon eligible for research and development tax credits, meaning an increase in such taxes would be less of a blow than to higher-profit corporations.

Still, technology companies like Amazon will likely pay more under the Biden plan.

Infrastructure investments would also help Amazon efficiently move goods around the country. Mr Bezos has acknowledged in the past that the very existence of his company was predicated on large public investments in the internet and the US Postal Service.

Amazon has also received attention from the White House recently thanks to a closely watched union drive at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama.

The administration released a video in which Mr Biden said he supported the rights of workers to organise and encouraged employers to refrain from illegal interference in workplace campaigns, without mentioning Amazon by name.

Published: April 7, 2021 03:11 AM

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