By CFO Journal Staff
Tuesday's elections could bring substantial changes to corporate taxation, trade policies, minimum wages and regulation. Below is a roundup of what finance chiefs have said about potential changes in the government's role in business and what the next four years could bring.
Corporate taxes could rise under a Democratic administration, reversing some elements of the 2017 overhaul that reduced federal tax for companies to 21% from 35%.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. CFO Tarek Robbiati:
"There is a fair bit of tax planning in every large corporation. We are not different. If the tax environment is new, you have to adjust to it." (Oct. 27)
Sleep Number Corp. CFO David Callen:
"The primary thing is the income-tax rate." (Oct. 20)
A potential change in government could affect how the U.S. responds to the coronavirus pandemic, with implications for companies.
Columbia Sportswear Co. CFO Jim Swanson:
"If we look at a Biden administration,...we'd like an approach to the pandemic, and more of a muscular...more of an approach that informs and educates the population, because we've got to get past the pandemic that we're in." (Nov. 2)
Changes in trade policies could result in new restrictions on certain products and higher tariff costs. Those could come on top of existing import tariffs.
Gap Inc. CFO Katrina O'Connell:
"If we are going to be experiencing heavy tariffs, it is not going to be favorable for us to be in China." (Oct. 26)
Crocs Inc. CFO Anne Mehlman:
"Last year when there was a lot of tariff talk around China, we've really diversified our supply chain base. So I feel like we're in a pretty good position, regardless of the outcome." (Oct. 28)
Investments and capital spending
The outcome of the elections could affect companies' spending and investments plans, both in the U.S. and overseas.
Whirlpool Corp. CFO Jim Peters:
"We tend to produce very closely to where we sell. The election won't have a significant impact on our decision making." (Oct. 23)
VF Corp. CFO Scott Roe (on the potential impact on mergers and acquisitions):
"We don't try to outguess politics in terms of timing because you can't outguess it, right? It's impossible to do. So I'll let potential sellers speculate on whether that's going to impact their timing or not." (Oct. 16)
Companies could face greater regulatory scrutiny under a new president.
Chevron Corp. CFO Pierre Breber:
"We are confident we can find common ground with whoever wins the election next week." (Oct. 29)
Pool Corp. CFO Mark Joslin (on the potential impact of stricter labor policies):
"When you have the government more involved in [labor] directly, it makes it more difficult for you to have direct relationships with your employees." (Oct. 26)
Citizens Financial Group Inc. CFO John Woods:
"It's not our expectation that a change in the administration will transform our relationship and direction from a regulatory standpoint." (Oct. 23)
Costs for wages and benefits could go up if there is a change in the White House.
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. CFO Jack Hartung:
"While the federal minimum wage is somewhere in the $7 range, our average hourly rate is in the $12 to $13 [range], so if that moves up to $15, that will have an impact, but not a significant impact...If there was some kind of a sudden jump to $15, I think it would hurt a lot of the smaller companies out there." (Oct. 23)
Pool's Mr. Joslin (on potential changes to the federal minimum wage):
"If you're talking [an increase of] five or six or seven dollars, something like that, that will have a significant impact on our cost. That affects our plans and where we're going to invest." (Oct. 26)
(END) Dow Jones Newswires