House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has proposed a tax plan that will inflict some financial pain on private equity firms, had dinner on Tuesday with two powerful PE moguls bent on talking the influential lawmaker out of such a move, The Post has learned. Leon Black and Henry Kravis dined with Ryan in Manhattan and tax reform talk was on the menu, a source close to the situation said. Ryan has proposed a tax plan that would eliminate the ability of companies to deduct interest expenses from their taxable income, thus lowering their tax bill.
High debt loads and the ability to deduct the expense comprise the life blood of PE firms. Black’s Apollo Global Management and Kravis’ KKR & Co. purchase companies by putting down about 30 percent and borrowing the rest of the cash.
By deducting interest on loans, companies slash their tax rates by more than half, according to a 2010 study from Notre Dame Professor Brad Badertscher. Ryan’s plan would tax businesses on their net cash flow giving them the incentive to spend more and borrow less. The House Speaker and Apollo declined comment.