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Obama to offer corporate tax plan

From Jessica Yellin, CNN Chief White House Correspondent
February 22, 2012 -- Updated 0037 GMT (0837 HKT)
President Obama's team has been talking about unveiling a plan to fix the corporate tax system for well over a year.
President Obama's team has been talking about unveiling a plan to fix the corporate tax system for well over a year.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A broad outline is expected to seek common ground with Republicans
  • Obama has called for a system with incentives for domestic job creation
  • The Treasury Department will release the president's plan on Wednesday

Washington (CNN) -- The Treasury Department will unveil President Barack Obama's corporate tax reform plan on Wednesday, senior administration officials told CNN.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told a Senate panel last week the plan will be an effort to find "common ground" on broad principles between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill.

"We want to maximize the chance we can take advantage of that (common ground) to build consensus on something that's going to work," Geithner told the Senate Finance Committee.

The Obama administration has been talking about unveiling a plan to fix the corporate tax system for well over a year.

Senior administration officials Tuesday would not provide details of the president's plan. They said it will be consistent with his commitment to fairness and the message he laid out in the State of the Union address.

In the State of the Union address and in subsequent speeches, Obama has called for ending tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs overseas and lowering rates for U.S. businesses that create jobs at home.

"Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas," Obama said in his address to Congress in January. "Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it. So let's change it. "

Obama also said that it was time to end subsidies and tax breaks for the oil industry, which "rarely has been more profitable," while increasing tax credits for developing alternative energy sources.

Last year, the pressure for a corporate tax system fix heated up with news of General Electric's zero tax rate in 2010 due to profits overseas and losses at its financial unit. General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt is the chief of Obama's Council for Jobs and Competitiveness.

The top corporate tax rate of 35%, among the highest in the world, has long been bemoaned by business leaders and tax experts. They say it discourages foreign investment in the United States and hinders the ability of U.S. companies to compete internationally.

The Obama administration is expected to talk about lowering the top rate while axing some of the more than 130 business corporate tax breaks currently on the books and limiting companies' ability to shift profits to nations where tax rates are lower.

"In short, it will help level the playing field for businesses and allow the government to collect needed revenue while promoting economic growth," Geithner said in his written statement to the Senate panel.

CNNMoney's Jennifer Liberto and Jeanne Sahadi contributed to this report.

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