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Walmart CEO on possible corporate tax hikes: US needs to stay competitive

Brian Sozzi
·Editor-at-Large
·2 min read

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon says his company stands ready to pay more in taxes if the election outcome dictates that’s where the country is headed.

“We have been through a lot of these [elections]. We want to help the country get stronger, so whatever we are asked to do that’s what we’ll do. We hope to contribute to bringing the country together as it is related to things like inclusion, but we want to solve other problems too if we are asked how can we serve the country,” McMillon said when asked how higher corporate taxes would impact the world’s largest retailer.

Speaking at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit, McMillon stressed the need for the U.S.. corporate tax rate to stay competitive globally even if it were to be hiked under a new administration.

“The first thing that goes through my mind when I think of corporate taxes is we need to think about where we set the rate on a global basis and make sure the U.S. is competitive. Given all the debt we have taken on with the pandemic, we need to develop a plan to address debt levels. So I think we need to work together with whoever is in the White House and in Congress to figure out what combination of things need to change, taxes being one of them, that would result in a better overall outcome and a longer-term approach and view,” McMillon added.

To be sure, the business community remains on edge amid a potential White House win by former Joe Biden. The former vice president hasn’t hidden his desire to hike taxes on corporations to support various infrastructure and social safety net investments. Such a move could hurt profits, stock prices and long-term investments in capital.

Biden has put forth reversing half of the president’s signature tax cuts, lifting the statutory rate to 28%. Investment bank Credit Suisse estimates this change in taxes would increase the effective rate by 4% to 5%, and slash $9 off estimated S&P 500 earnings per share. Goldman Sachs has projected that Biden’s tax plan would lead it to reduce its 2021 earnings estimate by 12%.

What’s more, it’s unclear how consumer spending will be hit if Biden raises taxes on individuals making more than $400,000 a year and on capital gains. A lot of those consumers are shopping online at Walmart, Target, Amazon and other retailers.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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