Almost every day we hear about new budget challenges in our communities – shortfalls that force cuts to vital programs and services. Every time a school is closed or jobs are lost, it’s the same story: government doesn’t have the money to pay for it.
At the same time, we’re learning about major corporations that avoid paying their taxes. Here in Massachusetts, companies like State Street and General Electric are even receiving giant tax refunds in spite of record profits.
As it turns out, there’s a direct link – and it’s time to connect the dots.
While the top corporate tax rate is 35%, many major US corporations pay little to nothing in federal taxes. Big businesses that don’t pay their fair share starve communities of the vital resources needed to provide the services we rely on every day.
Earlier this year, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took to the floor of the US Senate to call attention to this glaring injustice. He called out the “Ten Worst Corporate Tax Avoiders.” To watch his speech, check out the video below.
Here are just some of the offenders he lists, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times:
- Exxon Mobil: In 2009, Exxon made $19 billion in profits. But not only did they paid no federal income taxes, they actually received a $156 million rebate.
- Bank of America: Last year, they received a $1.9 billion tax refund, in spite making $4.4 billion in profits and receiving a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion.
- Goldman Sachs: In 2008, they paid only 1.1 percent of their income in taxes, despite earning a profit of $2.3 billion and receiving almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department.
- Citigroup: Made more than $4 billion in profits last year but paid no federal income taxes. The company received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.
As Senator Sanders says in his speech: “In a time when we have a $1.6 trillion deficit, maybe we have to reduce that deficit not simply on the backs of working families, low income people, the children, the sick, the elderly. Maybe maybe we might want to call for shared sacrifice. Maybe Exxon Mobile and some of the large oil companies might be asked to pay something in taxes.”
We all pay taxes on our income, shouldn’t these hugely profitable corporations do the same?