S. 3977 Patriot Employers Bill--Providing a Tax Cut to our Best Companies

Mr. President, when companies make headlines today it is often for all the wrong reasons: fraud, tax avoidance, profiteering, etc. Yet many of the companies that are currently providing jobs across America are conscientious corporate citizens that strive to treat their workers fairly even as they seek to create good products that consumers want and to maximize profits for their shareholders. I believe that we should reward such companies for providing good jobs to American workers, and create incentives that encourage more companies to do likewise. The Patriot Employers bill does just that.

This legislation, which I am introducing today along with Senators Obama and Brown, would provide a tax credit to reward the companies that treat American workers best. Companies that provide American jobs, pay decent wages; provide good benefits, and support their employees when they are called to active duty should enjoy more favorable tax treatment than companies that are unwilling to make the same commitment to American workers. The Patriot Employers tax credit would put the tax code on the side of those deserving companies by acknowledging their commitments.

The Patriot Employers legislation would provide a tax credit equal to 1 percent of taxable income to employers that meet the following criteria:

First, invest in American jobs, by maintaining or increasing the number of full-time workers in America relative to the number of full-time workers outside of America, by maintaining their corporate headquarters in America if the company has ever been headquartered in America, and by maintaining neutrality in union organizing drives.

Second, pay decent wages, by paying each worker an hourly wage that would ensure that a full-time worker would earn enough to keep a family of three out of poverty, at least $7.80 per hour.

Third, prepare workers for retirement, either by providing a defined benefit plan or by providing a defined contribution plan that fully matches at least 5 percent of worker contributions for every employee.

Fourth, provide health insurance, by paying at least 60 percent of each worker's health care premiums.

Fifth, support our troops, by paying the difference between the regular salary and the military salary of all National Guard and Reserve employees who are called for active duty, and also by continuing their health insurance coverage.

In recognition of the different business circumstances that small employers face, companies with fewer than 50 employees could achieve Patriot Employer status by fulfilling a smaller number of these criteria.

There is more to the story of corporate American than the widely-publicized wrong-doing. Patriot Employers should be publicly recognized for doing right by their workers even while they do well for their customers and shareholders. I urge my colleagues to join Senator Obama, Senator Brown, and me in supporting this effort. Our best companies, and our American workers, deserve nothing less.