Reed Reintroduces Stop Subsidizing Multimillion Dollar Corporate Bonuses Act
REED: Madam President, I am reintroducing the Stop Subsidizing Multimillion Dollar Corporate Bonuses Act with Senators Blumenthal, Whitehouse, Merkley, Baldwin, Warren, Van Hollen, and Sanders. This legislation would finally fully close a loophole that allows publicly traded corporations to deduct the cost of multimillion-dollar bonuses from their corporate tax bills. At a time when the gulf in pay between CEOs and average workers is 272 to 1, it is infuriating that U.S. taxpayers are being forced to subsidize lavish executive compensation packages, but that is what is happening.
Under section 162(m) of the Tax Code, publicly traded corporations cannot deduct more than $1 million in compensation paid to their top executives. But section 162(m) does not cover compensation paid to all public company employees, and corporations have long exploited this loophole to claim tax deductions for executive compensation packages that far exceed $1 million. Indeed, publicly traded corporations are offering these lucrative compensation deals to ever increasing numbers of executives--not just a few at the very top of the organization.
Both Republican and Democratic administrations have recognized the need to close loopholes in section 162(m). Indeed, both President Trump and President Biden signed laws based on earlier versions of my legislation in order to curtail the abuse of this deduction. This includes ensuring that performance-based compensation is actualjy counted as compensation under section 162(m) and increasing the number of highly paid executives who are subject to section 162(m). Partially tightening the law in these ways has saved taxpayers well over $9.2 billion. But the full loophole has still not been closed and taxpayers continue to subsidize billions of dollars in extravagant compensation.
The Stop Subsidizing Multimillion Dollar Corporate Bonuses Act would address the remaining gaps by applying section 162(m) restrictions to all employees of publicly traded corporations so that all compensation is subject to a deductibility cap of $1 million per employee.
To be clear, under my bill, publicly traded corporations would still be able to pay their executives as much as they desire, but individual compensation packages above and beyond $1 million would no longer be subsidized through our Tax Code. This is a matter of fairness. It ensures that corporations and shareholders--not hard-working taxpayers--are shouldering the cost of the multimillion-dollar compensation packages they provide to their top earners.
I thank Public Citizen, Americans for Financial Reform, the AFL-CIO, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, MIT Professor Simon Johnson, Take On Wall Street, and the Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project for their support. I urge our colleagues to join us in cosponsoring this legislation and pressing for its passage.