February 14, 2012 / 3:03 PM / 7 years ago

U.S. plan will end dozens of business tax breaks: Geithner

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Finance Committee hearing on the President's FY2013 Budget on Capitol Hill, February 14, 2012. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration’s corporate tax reform plan will end “dozens and dozens” of breaks, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Tuesday as he defended the White House’s election-year call for higher taxes from wealthy taxpayers.

Within days, the administration is to unveil a blueprint for revamping the corporate tax system that aims to help level the playing field for all companies, while also lowering the top corporate tax rate.

Companies are clamoring for a cut in the top 35 percent corporate tax rate, but disagree about how to how eliminate special tax preferences in the tax code benefiting select industries.

Geithner spoke before the Senate Finance Committee a day after President Barack Obama unveiled a $3.8 trillion budget that proposed aggressive spending to boost the economy and higher taxes for the rich. “We think they can handle it. We think they can afford it,” Geithner said.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn and others on the Senate panel said the administration needed to propose specific tax reforms for corporations that could be hashed out before the end of the year.

But Geithner said the administration tried to negotiate such a framework with Republican leaders in the House of Representatives and found “no basis for agreement.”

Earlier in the day, Obama said he was “hopeful” for a deal on extending a two percentage point cut in the payroll tax paid by workers, which will expire at the end of the month without a deal between sparring lawmakers.

Reporting By Kim Dixon and; Rachelle Younglai; Editing by Neil Stempleman and Jackie Frank

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