Monday, March 28, 2011

Big companies avoid federal taxes

Louisiana isn't the only place being stiffed by big corporations, with the responsibility of paying for public services shifting to middle class families. As this New York Times article shows, the nation's biggest companies are shirking their duty and avoiding their fair share of taxes.

General Electric, billed in the article as America's largest corporation, paid no corporate income taxes at all last year. In fact, GE managed to wangle a $3.2 billion tax benefit out of the federal government. General Electric's worldwide profit last year was $14.2 billion; in the U.S. alone, GE's profit was $5.1 billion.

It hasn't gone unnoticed in Washington. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said in this article, "We have a deficit problem. It has to be addressed, but it cannot be addressed on the backs of the sick, the elderly, the poor, young people, the most vulnerable in this country. The wealthiest people and the largest corporations in this country have got to contribute. We've got to talk about shared sacrifice."

It must be noted that what GE is doing is not illegal. The company is simply taking advantage of laws passed by Congress at the urging of lobbyists who are paid handsomely by corporations. The same is true in Louisiana.

As the Louisiana Federation of Teachers has noted before, more than three-fourths of the corporate taxes on the books are not collected because various tax breaks - legal loopholes that shift the responsibility to fund our government onto middle-class taxpayers and working families.

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