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.
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.”
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.