But nowhere is the business divide sharper than over O’Rourke’s opposition to the $1.5 trillion tax cut that Republicans passed last year.
Cruz offers O’Rourke’s position as proof of a “left-wing activist agenda,” saying the revamp is already paying off for businesses and individuals. Moseley, the Texas Association of Business president, said the Democrat’s vote against the tax bill is likely a deal breaker for many business leaders.
O’Rourke is unmoved, casting the tax cuts as debt-laden gifts that “disproportionately flow to corporations that are already sitting on record piles of cash and the already wealthy.”
“I believe not in investing in corporations and in special interests,” he said last month. “I believe in investing in people.”
O’Rourke explained that corporations “absolutely” can be job creators and provide important goods and services. But he said he’s “with the people who created the value for those corporations,” offering AT&T and its workers as an example.
The telecom giant will “enjoy tens of billions of dollars in savings from this tax bill that was written to their benefit,” he said. Their employees, by comparison, received “measly” $1,000 bonuses, he said, noting that AT&T also laid off hundreds of employees in the overhaul’s wake.
Cruz said O’Rourke’s position smacks of what he called the “elite, out-of-touch perspective” of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that the bonuses amounted to “crumbs.”
An AT&T spokesman, asked for comment, said that “with tax reform in mind,” the company paid $200 million in bonuses, made an $800 million contribution to the company’s employee and retiree medical trust and donated nearly $100 million to the company’s charitable foundation.
But O’Rourke said the bottom line is that he will stand up for Texas companies in Washington only “if it’s good for their employees, if it’s good for the economy, if it’s good for Texas.”
“I want corporations to be successful,” he said. “But that success has to flow to the people who created the value in the first place.”