fb-pixel Skip to main content

Pozen makes multimillion-dollar gift to Tax Policy Center

Robert PozenHandout

Former Boston mutual fund executive Robert Pozen has made a multimillion-dollar gift to the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of two centrist Washington think tanks.

The gift will endow in perpetuity a chair for the director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. The precise amount of the donation was not disclosed; the center said it was the largest since its founding 13 years ago.

The gift is aimed at helping the center develop long-term priorities and conduct research on tax, budget and social policy, according to DJ Nordquist, chief of staff for economic studies at the Brookings Institution.

“Bob’s gift allows TPC to continue to do research on the current tax system and what can be done to make it work better, elevating the national debate for many years to come,’’ she said.


Pozen, 68, is a former top executive at Fidelity Investments and MFS Investment Management. He is currently a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Managment and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute.

In addition to Brookings, the other partner in the tax venture is the Urban Institute, which researches urban issues. The Tax Policy Center has a staff of 47, including scholars.

In an interview Tuesday, Pozen said he and his wife, philanthropists who contribute to the arts and other causes, are directing funds to the center because it conducts nonpartisan research that can have a large impact.

“It sounds esoteric but it really has a huge impact on people’s lives,” Pozen said.

In particular, Pozen is interested in questions such as how to lower the corporate tax rate in a way that’s revenue neutral. That means finding other areas to raise taxes in order to make the US corporate rate more competitive with other countries.

With a US corporate tax rate of 35 percent, Pozen said, American companies have incentives to expand abroad, and foreign companies can find cheaper places to expand.


“It’s a question that really means jobs and infrastructure here,’’ Pozen said. “Where will the factories be? Who gets the dividends” paid to stockholders, he asked.

One of his ideas: Reduce the tax break companies get for borrowing money. That’s an approach that’s unpopular with bankers and private equity executives, who deal heavily in debt.

“This is politically extremely difficult,’’ said Pozen, a registered Democrat who considers himself “down the middle” when it comes to politics. He was secretary of economic development to former Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, and said he supported Charlie Baker for governor.

Pozen declined to say which candidate or party he plans to support for president in 2016. He took a leave this year from a post at the Harvard Business School and taught over the winter at Stanford University.

Other funders of the Tax Policy Center include individual business people and nonprofits like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Beth Healy can be reached at beth.healy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @HealyBeth.