(Adds comments, context on business lobbying)
By Kim Dixon
WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Chief ExecutiveLloyd Blankfein on Thursday became the latest big-name businessleader to pledge to pay a steeper tax rate - 5 percent more, hesaid - in exchange for a long-term bipartisan deal in Congressto keep the country from falling off the "fiscal cliff."
Blankfein is part of a group of corporate executives whohave raised nearly $30 million to support a deal to avoid thenearly $ 6 00 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts set to takeeffect at the end of the year.
Asked if he would pay 5 percent more in taxes if it becamenecessary for Congress to reach a deal, he said "Of course ... Idon't know anybody who wouldn't."
Blankfein, who characterized his political views as "centerleft," was interviewed Thursday along with Erskine Bowles andAlan Simpson on CNBC.
Simpson and Bowles were co-chairs of a bipartisan commissionestablished by President Barack Obama that in December, 2010came up with a comprehensive proposal to reduce the budgetdeficit, which has been topping $1 trillion for several years.
The commission's report has some support among Democrats andRepublicans as a deficit-reduction model, though when it wasinitially proposed, Obama did not act on it and most HouseRepublicans opposed it.
Despite the push for a broad deficit-cutting deal to avoidthe fiscal cliff, Congress has put off any decisions until afterthe Nov. 6 presidential and congressional elections.
That will leave lawmakers only a few weeks to act before theautomatic cuts and tax increases are triggered under a budgetlaw passed by Congress in 2011.
Budget and tax issues are expected to be among the bigissues addressed during Thursday night's vice presidentialdebate.
DIVERSE BUSINESS GROUPS
The business community, while eager for lower taxes,splinters over the specifics of which tax breaks to eliminate.
More than half of all businesses are not corporations likeGoldman Sachs, but are organized so they pay taxes atindividuals' rates. These include small businesses, as well asbigger firms like law firms and hedge funds.
"Everyone is more comfortable giving away someone else'smoney," said Dirk Von Dongen, president of the NationalAssociation of Wholesalers and Distributors, whose make-upincludes 60 percent of pass-through businesses.
The corporate tax rate is not changing at the end of theyear, though most individual income taxes could increase. BothObama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney support lowering thetop 35 percent statutory rate.
(Reporting By Kim Dixon, with additional reporting by LaurenLaCapra. Editing by Fred Barbash, Gunna Dickson and Dan Grebler)
Keywords: USA FISCALCLIFF/GOLDMANCEO