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Goldman CEO: I'll pay 5 percent more in taxes for budget deal

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, became the latest big-name business leader to pledge to pay steeper tax - 5 percent, he said - in exchange for a long-term bipartisan deal in Congress to keep the country from falling off the "fiscal cliff."

Blankfein is part of a group of corporate executives who have raised nearly $30 million to support a deal to avoid the so-called cliff - about $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect at the end of the year.

Asked if he would pay 5 percent more in taxes if it became necessary for Congress to reach a deal, he said "I don't know anybody who wouldn't."

Blankfein, who characterized his political views as "center left," was interviewed Thursday along with Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson on CNBC.

Simpson and Bowles are co-chairs of a bipartisan commission established by President Barack Obama that in December, 2010 came up with a comprehensive proposal to tame deficits. While the commission's report is now held up by Democrats and Republicans as a model, it was never translated into law. Obama did not act on it, which some criticized as a missed opportunity, but others say was wise since House Republicans had

voted against it on the panel.

Despite the push for a broad deficit-cutting deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, Congress has put off any decisions until after the Nov. 6 presidential and congressional elections.

That will leave lawmakers only a few weeks to act before the automatic cuts and tax increases are triggered under a budget law passed by Congress in 2011.

(Reporting By Kim Dixon, with additional reporting by Lauren LaCapra. Editing by Fred Barbash and Gunna Dickson)

((Kim.Dixon@thomsonreuters.com)(202-841-1372))

Keywords: USA FISCALCLIFF/GOLDMANCEO

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