Microsoft CEO Ballmer says Obama tax hike would move Microsoft jobs offshore

“Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steven Ballmer said the world’s largest software company would move some employees offshore if Congress enacts President Barack Obama’s plans to impose higher taxes on U.S. companies’ foreign profits,” Ryan J. Donmoyer reports for Bloomberg. “‘It makes U.S. jobs more expensive,’ Ballmer said in an interview. ‘We’re better off taking lots of people and moving them out of the U.S. as opposed to keeping them inside the U.S.'”

Donmoyer continues, “Obama on May 4 proposed outlawing or restricting about $190 billion in tax breaks for offshore companies over the next decade. Such business groups as the National Foreign Trade Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable have denounced the proposed overhaul.”

“In a roundtable discussion today, Ballmer, Symantec Corp. Chairman John Thompson and the heads of smaller companies such as privately held Bentley Systems, an Exton, Pennsylvania-based maker of engineering software, said such policies would hurt domestic investment, reduce shareholder value and increase the cost of employing U.S. workers,” Donmoyer reports.

“Ballmer said that, while the Obama proposals would preserve expense deductions related to research and experimentation costs, the overall deduction limits for companies that defer tax on foreign profits would raise the cost of employing U.S. workers,” Donmoyer reports. “Fiduciary responsibility to shareholders would require Microsoft to cut costs, he said, meaning many jobs would be moved out of the country.”

Donmoyer reports, “Symantec Corp. Chairman John Thompson called the Obama proposals “counterintuitive” to the administration’s other stated goals of fostering an innovation-oriented economy. ‘It is a little bit ironic that most of our most significant trading partners and partners globally have taken the tack that they’ll reduce corporate tax rates to stimulate economic growth and not raise corporate tax rates,’ Thompson said.”

“Ballmer estimated that higher taxes under the proposal would reduce profits for companies that comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average by between 10 and 15 percentage points,” Donmoyer reports. “‘It’s just a question of how much will the Dow come down,’ Ballmer said. ‘It’s not about companies anyway; we’re talking about shareholders.'”

Full article here.

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