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Boeing’s Export-Import Bank subsidies targeted in battle over House tax plan

Opponents of the House Republican plan to adjust corporate taxes at the border are targeting a familiar conservative target in the industry lobbying battle: The financing Boeing receives from the Export-Import Bank.

Americans for Affordable Products, a coalition of retailers and other importers created to fight the House GOP’s proposed import tax, on Tuesday promoted research touting the subsidies received by the corporations in a rival coalition that favors the tax plan, including the credit that Ex-Im has facilitated for Boeing.

Boeing, Americans for Affordable Products says, has received $64.42 billion in “loans and bailouts” from the government since 1992. The group also detailed subsidies received by other companies in the pro-import tax coalition, including General Electric, Honeywell and Caterpillar.

In a new web ad, Americans for Affordable Products accused Boeing and the others of receiving “corporate welfare” and argued that the import tax would be just one more break for companies that already are paying low effective tax rates.

The invocation of Ex-Im is a new tactic in the unusually sharp industry-versus-industry battle over the import tax.

In recent years, conservative congressional Republicans have pushed to end Ex-Im, which facilitates credit for U.S. companies selling products overseas. They have criticized Ex-Im financing, much of which goes to Boeing, as interference in the market.

The House Republican tax plan would adjust taxes at the border so that only products sold in the U.S. are taxed and overseas sales are not. That change would be accomplished by allowing companies to write off all exports from their taxable income, while preventing them from deducting the cost of imported products. As a result, imports would effectively be taxed at the 20 percent tax rate the Republicans envision.

For retailers such as Kohl’s and Walmart, both members of Americans for Affordable Products, the prospect of a tax on imports is enough of a threat to wage a major public relations effort against the tax plan.

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