Tag Archives: budget

Governor Kasich wants balance? How bout major corporations pay their taxes.

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Ohio Governor John Kasich, a cheap labor conservative, said in a recent newspaper article that he wasn’t anti-union even as his buddies in the Ohio legislature consider a bill to strip public employees of their right to collective bargaining. He says he wants balance. Hey John, how about getting corporations in the state to pay their damn taxes. Instead of forcing working people to take up the funding slack get your business peeps to pay their fair share.

“I’m not anti-union,” Kasich said. “I think unions are an important part of the American fabric, but what we’re doing here is basically to start sticking up for taxpayers and private-sector workers who have made enormous sacrifices over the last decade.”

Kasich said that the collective-bargaining overhaul “is one piece of an overall reform agenda” to be largely revealed in his two-year state budget on March 15. The budget is designed “to stabilize the state so that we can have economic growth, job creation and entrepreneurship,” he said.

Kasich: ‘I’m not anti-union’

Of course he uses the go to GOP talking point by failing to acknowledge that state workers ARE taxpayers too. You know who hasn’t made any sacrifices over the last decade? Big business.

Indeed, as politicians are asking ordinary Americans to sacrifice their education, their health, their labor rights, and their wellbeing to tackle budget deficits, some of the world’s richest multinational corporations are getting away with shirking their responsibility and paying nothing. ThinkProgress has assembled a short but far from comprehensive list of these tax dodgers — corporations which have rigged the tax system to their advantage so they can reap huge profits and avoid paying taxes:

BANK OF AMERICA: In 2009, Bank of America didn’t pay a single penny in federal income taxes, exploiting the tax code so as to avoid paying its fair share. “Oh, yeah, this happens all the time,” said Robert Willens, a tax accounting expert interviewed by McClatchy. “If you go out and try to make money and you don’t do it, why should the government pay you for your losses?” asked Bob McIntyre of Citizens for Tax Justice. The same year, the mega-bank’s top executives received pay “ranging from $6 million to nearly $30 million.”

BOEING: Despite receiving billions of dollars from the federal government every single year in taxpayer subsidies from the U.S. government, Boeing didn’t “pay a dime of U.S. federal corporate income taxes” between 2008 and 2010.

CITIGROUP: Citigroup’s deferred income taxes for the third quarter of 2010 amounted to a grand total of $0.00. At the same time, Citigroup has continued to pay its staff lavishly. “John Havens, the head of Citigroup’s investment bank, is expected to be the bank’s highest paid executive for the second year in a row, with a compensation package worth $9.5 million.”

EXXON-MOBIL: The oil giant uses offshore subsidiaries in the Caribbean to avoid paying taxes in the United States. Although Exxon-Mobil paid $15 billion in taxes in 2009, not a penny of those taxes went to the American Treasury. This was the same year that the company overtook Wal-Mart in the Fortune 500. Meanwhile the total compensation of Exxon-Mobil’s CEO the same year was over $29,000,000.

GENERAL ELECTRIC: In 2009, General Electric — the world’s largest corporation — filed more than 7,000 tax returns and still paid nothing to U.S. government. They managed to do this by a tax code that essentially subsidizes companies for losing profits and allows them to set up tax havens overseas. That same year GE CEO Jeffery Immelt — who recently scored a spot on a White House economic advisory board — “earned total compensation of $9.89 million.” In 2002, Immelt displayed his lack of economic patriotism, saying, “When I am talking to GE managers, I talk China, China, China, China, China….I am a nut on China. Outsourcing from China is going to grow to 5 billion.”

WELLS FARGO: Despite being the fourth largest bank in the country, Wells Fargo was able to escape paying federal taxes by writing all of its losses off after its acquisition of Wachovia. Yet in 2009 the chief executive of Wells Fargo also saw his compensation “more than double” as he earned “a salary of $5.6 million paid in cash and stock and stock awards of more than $13 million.”

REPORT: You Have More Money In Your Wallet Than Bank Of America Pays In Federal Taxes

It is also curious that in the Dispatch article Kasich claims:

While he occasionally talks with his GOP counterparts, Kasich said “there is no coordinated effort here” to kill public-employee unions, which provide political and financial support overwhelmingly to Democrats.

But in the next paragraph says:

Kasich said he frequently talks with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and called him last week after Walker was duped by a blogger into believing he was talking by phone with billionaire David H. Koch, who, along with his brother, Charles, are benefactors to GOP campaigns and causes.

You mean to tell me that he would not talk “shop” with Walker at all?? Please. Breaking the public worker unions have been on the GOP agenda since the Reagan era and our recent election gave them the foot in the door to try it.

In GOP fantasy land, state budget woes due only to spending

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It amuses me when cheap labor conservative Republicans blame spending for budget problems. They call for cutting state workers or reducing their pay or cutting programs. In their fantasy land, the Republicans fail to even acknowledge that their beloved tax cuts play a part in shortfalls.

As Media Matters pointed out about a one-sided 60 Minutes report on December 19th:

In 2,600 words about state deficits, you won’t find the phrase “tax cuts.” Instead, CBS adopts the Republican framing that deficits are all about spending — frequently with loaded phrasing like “gold-plated retirement and health care packages.” And throughout the report, CBS allows Christie, New Jersey’s Republican governor, to launch attacks on unions and make unsupported claims about budget problems, all without ever challenging his assertions and without including substantive disagreement from Christie critics.

And here’s how CBS addressed New Jersey’s pension problems:

It’s also the truth that some of the responsibility for New Jersey’s pension woes lie at the doorstep of the governor’s mansion. Christie and his predecessors have failed to contribute to the state’s share of its pension obligation in 13 of the last 17 years, one of the reasons the fund is going broke. Christie says it’s ancient history.

“We spent too much on everything. We spent too much. We spent money we didn’t have. We borrowed money just crazily. The credit cards maxed out, and it’s over. It’s over. We now have to get to the business of climbin’ out of the hole. We’ve been diggin’ it for a decade or more. We’ve gotta climb now, and a climb is harder. Gotta do it,” he said.

You’d never know from CBS’ report that a big part of the reason that “Christie and his predecessors” failed to make required contributions to the pension fund is that they decided to use the money for tax cuts instead. (Like I said, the CBS report takes the GOP-friendly stance that deficits are all about spending, not revenue.)

60 Minutes’ one-sided, GOP-friendly report on state budgets

GOP Budget cutter Jim Jordan turns down budget cutting job

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Rep Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) who for years has talked about cutting the Federal budget, complained about the spending of the current Congress, promised to cut spending and not raise taxes and was praised by a district newspaper for his promise to cut the budget, turned down an appointment to the powerful House Appropriations committee. Why would a committed budget cutter turn down a place on THE committee that writes the budget?

In a glowing editorial giving Jordan its endorsement, The Findlay (OH) Courier noted:

Jordan believes the Obama administration needs to get a handle on spending, and cut taxes, not raise them, if the country is going to fully recover from the recession.

As a member of the Budget, Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform committees, Jordan is positioned to push for many of the changes that the majority of voters in this district favor.

Jordan proposes reducing “discretionary spending,” which includes items outside Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and defense. He proposes reducing the payroll tax by half for one year, and reducing corporate taxes. He wants to eliminate capital gains taxes and the estate tax.

He believes unspent money from the federal government’s $700 billion bailout of banks in the 2008 financial crisis should be used for deficit reduction.

Published on October 5th 2010 on Section A page 04 Findlay (OH) Courier

You can also check other posts on my blog that quotes Jordan on cutting the budget.

Then today the website “Politico” reported:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was asked to be an appropriator and said thanks, but no thanks. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a tea party favorite, turned down a shot at Appropriations, which controls all discretionary spending. So did conservatives like Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), an ambitious newcomer who will lead the influential Republican Study Committee.

Appropriations panel loses its luster

So why would Jim Jordan turn down a committee assignment that would not only fit in his campaign promises for the past couple of years but would also bring him some prestige?

He doesn’t want to have blood on his hands. The GOP has made no secret they plan on making wide spread cuts to everything except defense and giving tax breaks to the wealthy while raising taxes on the middle class.

“Anybody who’s a Republican right now, come June, is going to be accused of hating seniors, hating education, hating children, hating clean air and probably hating the military and farmers, too,” said Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), a fiscal conservative who is lobbying to become chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “So much of the work is going to be appropriations related. There’s going to be a lot of tough votes. So some people may want to shy away from the committee. I understand it.”

Exactly. Jordan doesn’t want more proof that he hates seniors, education, the unemployed, veterans, and the other groups he voted against during the current congress.

*Update*

The Courier reported on Friday 11/19 that Jordan’s staff says the Politico report was wrong that he never had a formal offer to join the appropriations committee. However they quote his spokesperson Meghan Snyder saying that he would turn it down if it was offered. He wants to be on a special group that will make the decisions on what to cut that will then be vetted in the committee so he can do his damage more in the shadows than if he was on the committee out in the open.

But Jordan’s press secretary, Meghan Snyder, said Thursday he never was offered a seat on the powerful committee.

“There’s a lot of talk about it. He never got a formal call,” Snyder said.

Even if he did, Jordan would not accept an offer for the committee, she said.

Jordan’s focus is becoming chairman of the Republican Study Committee, she said. The group of 116 House Republicans seeks to advance a conservative social and economic agenda. He could find out this week if he got the chairmanship.

“He’s interested in being the conscience of conservatives,” Snyder said.

Jordan is not the only House member to campaign for spending cuts and then appear indifferent about the Appropriations Committee. A scarcity of Republicans wanting to be on the Appropriations Committee was the focus of the Politico article. Campaigning for reduced government spending made better politics than cutting spending will be.

Jordan: Not asked, but not interested By Lou Wilin published 11/19/2010 Findlay (OH) Courier

Hite against delay in tax cut even with $900 million state budget hole

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State Rep. Cliff Hite (R-76th District) was in the news today for a couple of state issues. While I didn’t agree with his overall comments I do give the man credit for acknowledging that alternatives for the budget issues facing Ohio would not be painless.

In an interview on WFIN’s morning show Hite said that the Republicans had ideas to help fill in the approx $900 million budget gap after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that allowing video slot machines had to be voted on by the public. He said that one was restructuring state government by reducing the number of departments. The example he gave was eliminating the Department of Agriculture and absorbing the work into multiple departments. Such a change would lead to the loss of many state worker jobs.

Another suggestion was reducing Medicaid benefits which would hurt those who get those benefits.

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has said he wants to postpone the 4.2% tax reduction scheduled to take place in 2009 for two years. Some Republicans are against the delay because they feel the tax cut was meant to make “Ohio more competitive for jobs.” Hite is also against a delay.

I will credit Rep. Hite, that unlike the previous guy to hold his seat, he at least acknowledges the Republican alternatives aren’t perfect.

I disagree with Hite’s view on postponing the tax cut and changing state government.

It makes no sense, when one is losing revenue, to cut your revenue further. Ohio has made massive spending cuts in the past so any more cuts will be hitting bone.

The fact is that Ohio isn’t even in the top 10 for personal income tax and the corporate tax rate is only 5.1% for those that actually pay it. The argument that our taxes are too high is not supported by the evidence. The tax cut that Strickland wants to delay was passed in 2005 before the economy tanked and was to be phased in 4% a year with this year being the last of the 21% cut.

It is good to know that Hite isn’t a plain Jane Republican ideologue. Picture Robbie the Robot waving arms and saying “Must cut spending must cut spending must cut spending must cut spending…” and ignoring reality like Mike Gilb and Lynn Wachtmann use to do.

In an article in The Findlay Courier Rep. Hite said he favored State Issue 2 which supposedly creates yet another state board to prevent groups like the Humane Society from getting laws passed in the state to protect farm animals from cruel treatment.

So smaller government is good for business unless you can use it to protect business, then it needs to be larger.

It doesn’t make sense to me either.