It may have been nearly 100 degrees outside, but that didn’t stop hundreds of Boston residents from joining MassUniting yesterday to call on General Electric to pay its taxes.
What motivated so many people to brave the heat? The news that General Electric raked in a $3.2 billion federal tax refund for 2010, despite posting $11.6 billion in profits last year. Had GE paid its fair share in taxes, painful cuts to Massachusetts law enforcement, human services and public health programs could have been completely prevented.
That’s why we gathered to literally connect the dots between GE’s tax avoidance and local budget cuts. Rallying at ABCD – a Boston-based human services agency that has been forced to cut back on critical programs due to budget shortfalls – the crowd proceeded to a local GE branch just blocks away.
Standing outside of ABCD, several neighbors shared their personal stories and emphasized the impact of why the kinds of programs that ABCD provides are so important for our communities.
“If job placement programs like they provide at ABCD didn’t exist, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Yesenia Perez, a CNA from Dorchester. “When corporations like GE don’t pay their fair share, these services get cut. We need to hold GE accountable.”
Hundreds of concerned citizens then marched toward General Electric’s ‘GE Commercial Finance’ branch, fanning out to create a long line of large orange dots between ABCD and GE. Chanting “GE, pay your taxes!”, the crowd converged inside of GE’s main lobby.
Meanwhile, a delegation delivered a stack of nearly 250 letters addressed to GE CEO Jeff Immelt, signed by citizens from across metro Boston, calling on he and his company to do the right thing by our communities.
Yesterday’s action was a powerful and inspiring demonstration of what we are capable of doing when people come together and take a stand. MassUniting left the building yesterday chanting “We’ll be back” — and until GE and its fellow corporate tax dodgers step up to pay their fair share, we will be.
Check out our Facebook album to see more pictures from the event.