Two of Wall Street's most influential dealmakers have a message for Washington: Democrats and Republicans need to work together now to make U.S. corporate taxes more competitive in the global economy before its too late.
The urgency around corporate tax reform has recently kicked into a higher gear on Capitol Hill because of a number of high-profile American companies looking to buy foreign competitors in order to move their headquarters overseas where taxes are lower.
These so-called "inversions" not only present a concern about losing tax dollars, they risk "the intellectual capital base leaving this country and going overseas," Centerview Partners co-founder Blair Effron told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Friday. Centerview had advised London-based AstraZeneca on Pfizer's recently withdrawn takeover bid. new York-based Pfizer had sweetened its unsolicited offer several times to $118 billion before abandoning the deal.
The marginal corporate tax rate in Britain comes in at 21 percent—about half the rate in the U.S., according to KPMG. Few American companies pay the full U.S. rate because of loopholes, but it's still generally much higher.
"The spate of these inversions is a symptom of that problem," said Ralph Schlosstein, CEO of Evercore Partners, which advised British drug-maker Shire in rejecting Illinois-based AbbVie's tax-advantaged . He added that Washington is starting to get it. "Broadening the base, lowering the rates is a compelling case."
Sitting next to Schlosstein on "Squawk Box," Effron agreed. "The megaphone around tax reform because of inversion is getting louder on both sides of the aisle."
—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere