Costco CEO tells president not to raise middle-class taxes

November 27, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek told President Barack Obama not to raise taxes on the middle class, after the president called Jelinek to discuss the looming “fiscal cliff” — tax hikes and spending cuts poised to go into effect Jan. 1.

Jelinek, Issaquah-based Costco’s CEO since January and a longtime company executive, offered support for a compromise between Obama and Congress to avoid a tax increase for middle-class taxpayers. The president called Jelinek on Nov. 17, in a broad effort to reach out to the business community.

Costco employs more than 115,000 workers in the United States, including about 2,700 people in Issaquah. Jelinek told the president the company’s middle-class employees and customers — particularly small business owners — “have borne the brunt of the recession.”

“Now, with signs pointing to a modest economic recovery, it would be a particular burden on those working families to face higher income taxes,” Jelinek said in a statement released Nov. 19. “I encouraged the president to continue working with congressional leadership to find a balanced solution to the deficit that will avoid middle class tax increases.”

Costco operates 617 warehouses around the globe, including 447 in the United States and Puerto Rico.

The term “fiscal cliff” refers to more than $500 billion in tax increases and across-the-board spending reductions set to occur unless Obama and Congress can reach a compromise to reduce the national deficit.

If the president and lawmakers cannot reach a compromise on the “fiscal cliff,” experts predict taxes could rise for most businesses and individuals, and automatic spending cuts could shrink domestic programs and the military.

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