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VOL. 37 | NO. 37 | Friday, September 13, 2013

Big-business leaders talk tax code at Montana summit

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BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Max Baucus said Monday that his bipartisan effort to reform the nation's tax code helped attract some of the business world's biggest names to Montana for a conference on creating jobs.

Baucus opened the Montana Jobs Summit in Butte — an old mining town almost a century removed from its heydays — with the leaders of companies such as Google Inc., Facebook, Ford Motor Co., The Boeing Co. and others.

Several thousand business people, politicians, academics and others registered to hear speeches and hobnob with the executives.

Baucus, a veteran Democrat, told reporters that he was discussing his longshot bipartisan effort to revamp the tax code with the corporate leaders.

Baucus, with Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., are trying to build on sentiment inside and outside of Congress that the tax code is too complicated for individuals and too onerous for businesses. But significant differences among Democrats and Republicans over how much tax revenue the government should raise and who should pay it threaten to scuttle the effort.

Baucus said the CEOs agree with the mission to reduce tax rates and "broadening the base" by getting rid of exemptions and loopholes.

Baucus said FedEx Corp. CEO Fred Smith compared notes with him on the effort, and the senator expects to have conversations with other business leaders at the summit. Baucus said the top corporate tax rate is among the highest in the world.

"There is no question, if we can reform the code it will help American competitiveness in the world," Baucus said.

The first businessman to take the stage thanked Baucus for the effort.

"He is working on a program to change the U.S. tax code, and we will all support him on that and wish him well," Montana billionaire industrialist Dennis Washington told the large crowd at the Montana Tech campus.