The TBTFs join to fight proposed bank tax

|By:, SA News Editor

Half a million doesn't buy much anymore. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R, Mich.) - a sizable recipient of Wall Street donations - has the large financial institutions displeased with his proposal to levy a tax on them. He says they deserve to pay up for the lower borrowing costs they receive because of their perceived government backstop, a notion the banks dispute.

The proposal is part of larger tax reform expected to get serious discussion after the mid-term elections, and a Camp spokeswoman says the overall plan will make banks "some of the biggest winners."

In discussions to hold a fundraiser for the NRC, Goldman Sachs (GS +0.9%) reportedly opted out over its concerns. Smaller bankers join in with their much larger brethren: "We're going to beat this like a rented mule," says Cam Fine, who heads the Independent Community Bankers Association. "This is a united effort."

Camp's tax would apply to financial firms with assets greater than $500B, levying a 0.035% tax on total assets each year. Among those affected (in addition to Goldman) are AIG, BAC, C, GE Capital, JPM MET, MS, PRU, and WFC. The largest could pay more than $2B per year under the plan.