WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Chief Executive Officers of 17 of the largest U.S. companies and trade groups, all members of the RATE Coalition, which represents more than 30 million employees in all 50 states, sent a letter to lawmakers today seeking a reduction of the corporate tax rate as part of any wide-ranging comprehensive corporate tax reform in 2013.

The U.S. corporate tax rate of 35 percent is the highest among any industrialized counties, leaving our businesses unable to keep up with international competitors, which average a 25 percent corporate tax rate. The coalition of companies understand that all tax expenditures are on the table for discussion in exchange for lowering the rate, which will make them more competitive. But all agree – the corporate tax rate needs to be reduced.

The CEOs underscored the common ground that exists between Democrats and Republicans on the need to enact comprehensive tax reforms that will put American workers and American businesses on more sound footing and the urgency to act during the lame duck session to set the stage for reforms in early 2013.

The letter was signed by the top executives from Altria Group Inc., the Association of American Railroads, AT&T Inc., The Boeing Company, CVS Caremark, FedEx Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Kimberly-Clark, Liberty Media Corporation and Liberty Interactive Corporation, National Retail Federation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Raytheon Company, Southern Company, Time Warner Cable, Verizon Communications Inc., Viacom, and The Walt Disney Company.

The letter, sent to Chairman Camp and Ranking Member Levin of the House Ways and Means Committee and Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Hatch of the Senate Finance Committee, stressed the common ground shared by President Obama and Governor Romney during the campaign, both of whom have called for cutting the corporate tax rate, and highlighted that “America simply can no longer afford a 35 percent statutory tax rate.”

“Our high statutory rate and complex tax code hinder investment in the U.S., discourage job creation on our shores and slow economic growth,” the executives wrote. “Simply put, in order to expand and build upon the job creation achieved under President Obama, the U.S. must enact comprehensive corporate tax reform with a significantly lower corporate tax rate.”

The United States has not undergone comprehensive tax reform in more than 25 years, while trading partners have found new ways to make themselves more competitive, undercutting our corporate tax rates and sending jobs overseas.