Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman was in Little Rock today to speak at the Arkansas Economic Development Foundation luncheon and the good suits listening to his speech no doubt nodded in unison to his remarks, as posted on Twitter by Roby Brock, on the need for some big federal highway spending to create demand for Caterpillar machinery and also for the need for a reduction in the corporate tax rate.

Funny. I thought Caterpillar already had that tax thing figured out.


Caterpillar Inc. used offshore subsidiaries in Switzerland and Bermuda to avoid about $2 billion in U.S. taxes from 2000 to 2009, boosting its earnings through a “tax and financial statement fraud,” according to a Caterpillar executive’s lawsuit.

AP tried to ask Oberhelman about the company’s federal tax burden a while back but he wouldn’t answer. He has threatened to pull out of Illinois for that state’s income tax increase (to a personal rate — 5 percent — below Arkansas’s 7 and a corporate rate matching Arkansas.) Does Oberhelman’s joking comment that he’d like to have Mike Beebe governor in Illinois perhaps signal something afoot? This analysis shows, by the way, that Caterpillar got $200 million in federal tax refunds, apparently related to that offshore tax finagling, on $4.3 billion in income over two recent years.

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