Last year the Citizens for Tax Justice put out a report on 30 US corporations that paid no taxes and this year they’ve updated their list (PDF) to reflect 2011 taxes.
It’s pretty much the same.
– 26 of the 30 companies continued to enjoy negative federal income tax rates. That means they still made more money after tax than before tax over the four years!
– Of the remaining four companies, three paid four year effective tax rates of less than 4 percent (specifically, 0.2%, 2.0% and 3.8%). One company paid a 2008-11 tax rate of 10.9 percent.
– In total, 2008-11 federal income taxes for the 30 companies remained negative, despite $205 billion in pretax U.S. profits.Overall, they enjoyed an average effective federal income tax rate of –3.1 percent over the four years.
Greg Harkenrider, deputy executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Analysis gave definitions of terms such as “progressive,” ”regressive” and “proportional” taxation, and what he called the Holy Grail of tax reform, “economic efficiency.”
Gov. Steve Beshear’s special commission to draft a plan to overhaul the state’s tax laws started its first day of work Tuesday by putting out a proposal to hire a consultant.
Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, chairman of the 23-member panel, said Beshear considered it “imperative that we have someone from the outside who could lead this group through the issues” the governor considers important.
[State Senators Robin Webb (18th) and Walter Blevins (27th)] have submitted a letter to Beshear, requesting that meetings be scheduled for both Maysville and Ashland and stating their concerns that northeast Kentucky will not have representation in the discussions, because there is only one meeting scheduled east of Interstate 75.
Gambling is seemingly dead for now. The Governor repeatedly mis-sold it as an avenue to raise revenue for the cash-strapped state instead of just focusing on the very worthy (and primary) cause of helping the state’s thoroughbred industry. Meanwhile, he chose to hide his love away for much needed tax reform until after the election at which point he set up a Tax Task Force. The commission meets at 12:30 on Tuesday in Frankfort for their first meeting. Their findings are due in November.
Positive potential changes to the income tax include the following:
Putting in place a refundable earned-income tax credit, as 25 other states have, which would provide much-needed support to low-income working families and a boost to our economy.
Restructuring the income tax rates to introduce an additional higher marginal tax bracket on high earners.
Using adjusted gross income rather than net income as the starting point for the individual income tax, as 10 other states including West Virginia and Indiana already do. That would remove the deductions that disproportionately benefit higher income people and lessen the extent to which our income tax policy must continuously respond to decisions made by Congress.
Reducing the overly-generous private pension exclusion, a growing drain on revenues that will only become larger as the population ages. One option is to phase it out for higher-income retirees.
Senate President David Williams was sharply critical Monday of Gov. Steve Beshear’s tax reform commission, which will study ways to improve Kentucky’s tax code.
“It’s a joke, just a joke,” Williams said on “The Mandy Connell Show” on WHAS radio.
“The people that he put on this tax panel are redistributionists,” he said, a reference to those who favor a larger tax burden for people with bigger incomes. “They are people with a long history of supporting tax increases.”
The failed gubernatorial candidate went on to explain his bluntness: “I don’t have to worry about my popularity anymore.”
If he’s suggesting that last year was somehow an example of what it’s like when he is worrying about his popularity, then you have to feel a little bad for the big guy. He’s hurting on the inside. It’s sad.
And who are these redistributionists?
Jerry Abramson, chairman
Roszalyn Akins, Lexington
Jason Bailey, Berea
Jim Booth, Inez
Junior Bridgeman, Louisville
Rocky Comito, Shepherdsville
Luther Deaton, Nicholasville
Marion Forcht, Corbin
Rick Jordan, Walton
Pat Mulloy, Louisville
Dr. Sheila Schuster, Louisville
Stu Silberman, Lexington
Lee T. Todd Jr., Lexington
Leslie Weigel, Bowling Green
John Williams, Paducah
Joe Wright, Harned
Cathy Zion, Louisville
House majority: Democrats Rick Rand and Jim Wayne
House minority: Republican Bill Farmer
Senate majority: Republicans Bob Leeper and Paul Hornback
American Crossroads also looked to central Kentucky for its banking needs. It deposits its money in Forcht Bank, one of Kentucky’s largest bank groups, founded by Terry E. Forcht, a Louisville native whose business is located in Chandler’s district. American Crossroads uses Forcht Bank at the advice of Michael Duncan, former chairman of the Republican National Committee and chairman of American Crossroads, who himself owns community banks in Kentucky.
….Forcht, his wife and employees of his companies have always contributed heavily to Republican parties and candidates, including $31,450 to Barr in 2010. They also contributed to the Republican Party of Kentucky, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Rand Paul.
And redistributionist Lee T. Todd Jr.! Who takes from the rich and poor and gives himself an office, who redistributes taxpayer money directly into his own pocket?
Renovations for Todd’s office in UK’s Advanced Science and Technology Commercialization Center Building will cost $143,828. The median sale price for a house in Central Kentucky was $145,000 in June.
….After a yearlong unpaid leave of absence, Todd will join UK’s engineering faculty next summer as a tenured professor with a salary of about $162,000 a year. In the meantime, he will receive the $461,000 retention bonus guaranteed in his contract for staying 10 years.
David Williams is obviously correct. We are lucky to have him still in power, no longer held captive by good sense and free, finally, to pull back the curtain and reveal the truth about the socialist take over of our state government.
The state has slashed more than $1 billion in spending during the past four years, and Beshear’s proposed budget for the next two fiscal years would cut an additional $286 million. Some of those cuts have been in core services, such as education….
“I would say to them to fasten their seat belts,” Beshear said of naysayers. “Get ready for not just another study but for some proposals that I think can refashion Kentucky’s future.”
“Refashion Kentucky’s future.”
If we don’t listen to David Williams’ warnings now, we will probably all be in state run internment camps before the decade is out.
[If you enjoyed Chris Rock's take on taxes at the top of this post, or if you find yourself actually agreeing with what he said in his routine, recall that he is telling a joke. His actual feelings are the opposite.]
“I thought of offering to match the total amount — if we go to a contribution system — I’ll match the total contribution made by all Republican members of Congress, and I’ll even go three for one with McConnell. (Laughs.)
It’s kind of touching this faith he has in the American public, that with a one-point two or three trillion dollar deficit that he thinks Americans are so wonderfully spirited that they would just solve it all by contributions. That is a tax policy only a Republican could come up with. So Mitch — and he’s got this line, he’s got this proposal out there — I would definitely, it’s a firm offer, all the Republican members of Congress and like I say, I’m willing to triple his. I’ll match the rest of them.”
When TIME pointed out Mitch is valued at $10 Million, Warren dismissed McConnell’s worthlessness – “I’m not worried,” he said.
Mitch’s spokesmale told TIME that Mitch had no interest in paying his fare share to keep America afloat and that the Minority Leader would rather see the entire country drown than take Warren up on his offer.
Yum! Brands making record profits, but not paying state corporate taxes
On Dec. 7, Yum! Brands’ stock hit a new 52-week high, as the multibillion-dollar multinational behemoth was trading at $57.80.
The same day, Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy released a study showing that 20 of the most profitable companies in the country paid no net corporate income taxes over the last three years — including Louisville’s own Yum! Brands.
So how exactly could a company that made more than $1 billion profit over that time not pay a dime in state corporate income tax?
As Kentucky’s General Assembly readies to meet in Frankfort next month — to address a $190 million shortfall and devastating budget cuts on the horizon — tax reform advocates are hopeful that their efforts to address this problem are not ignored, as they have been in recent years.
The Louisville-based parent of such companies as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell paid no net corporate income taxes to states over the past three years, even as it generated more than a billion dollars in profits for shareholders, according to a new report.
Yum Brands is one of 68 companies nationwide that paid no state corporate income tax in at least one of the past three years, according to “Corporate Tax Dodging in the Fifty States, 2008-2010″ a report released Wednesday by economic justice advocacy groups.
Twenty of those companies averaged a tax rate of zero or less during the 2008-10 period, including Yum Brands, according to the report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy and Citizens for Tax Justice.
As Blackford reports, Kentucky will give away $292 Million in corporate tax breaks next year, with that amount rising above $300 Million by 2014.
In 2008, Yum! Brands paid a -2% state income tax rate. That’s negative two percent. The two years after that were not so good for Yum! as they were forced by the brutal hand of government to pay a whopping 0.3% tax rate in ’09 and an even more tyrannical 0.9% in 2010.
Requiring combined reporting, under which a parent company and its subsidiaries are treated as a single corporation for state tax purposes. Combined reporting eliminates most of the advantage of shifting profits into Delaware, Nevada and other low- or no-tax states. 23 states have put in place combined reporting, and Kentucky could gain $27 to $54 million in additional revenue from combined reporting according to a Legislative Research Commission analysis.
Decoupling from the Qualified Production Activities Income deduction, which is a federal tax loophole that provides a tax break for business activities in the United States. Kentucky partially allows the deduction for state taxes despite the fact that it provides no incentive for business investment or location in Kentucky as opposed to another state.
Enacting a throwback rule, which prevents taxable income of multi-state corporations from falling between the cracks by assigning income that is not taxable in any state to the home state where the goods are produced. Twenty-five other states have such a rule.
Creating a process by which business tax incentive and tax subsidy programs are periodically analyzed for their effectiveness by a legislative committee and expire unless renewed by the legislature.
But who needs to close corporate tax loopholes and end corporate tax breaks when we could fund everything with gambling?
Also, since we’re on the topic, sort of, the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy which put out this report highlighting Yum!’s fleecing of the Commonwealth is, if you did not know, an initiative of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED)… and the head of MACED, which is based in Berea, KY, was just profiled in Grist Magazine:
Justin Maxson has learned at least one big thing in his 10 years as president of MACED,the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development: When he tries to convince rural eastern Kentucky residents about the benefits of energy efficiency or certified forest products or any other environmentally progressive idea, abstractions don’t work. He is far more likely to make headway if his argument makes cold hard economic sense.
MACED specializes in financing environmentally sustainable, community supported economic development strategies. But it can’t bank on people wanting simply to do the right thing: That retrofit must make a dent in the monthly utility bills; the carbon offsets for responsible forestry management must put cash back in people’s pockets. That’s the unavoidable reality when working in a region as economically depressed as Appalachia.
Maxson’s roots in central Appalachia go back 200 years, a fact reflected in a slow drawl that sounds as softly worn as the mountains themselves. He credits his own interest in social justice to his grandmother, who taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Kentucky in the 1930s, and who instilled in her grandson the importance of grappling with root causes, instead of just obsessing over “symptoms.”
Read on… and give thanks to MACED/KCEP for their work highlighting Yum!’s exclamatory tax evasion.
If you don’t have time (or the stomach) for the jellied hair oracle, here’s the basics:
Leaving aside the ridiculousness of the “Social Security is bankrupt!” suggestion (or that the Democratic plan would defund it), what Paul is saying is that the middle class’ taxes should go up by $1,500 next year, so that a government program that he despises, wants to privatize, and calls a Ponzi scheme doesn’t go bankrupt. Even though it isn’t even remotely close to going bankrupt.
Superfail on the Committee. The 13th member, Grover Norquist, today rejoices.
In all, 270 members of Congress — from Mitch McConnell at the top all the way down to the lowliest members, like Ben Chandler — have signed his “No Tax Raises Ever” pledge, which meant that building any sort of a compromise in the Supercommittee was all but impossible, even though it is obviously good economics to repeal the Bush Tax Cuts for the Super Wealthy (and also popular with the electorate).
Here’s some Grover highlights, if you’re not familiar, in which he likens any Republican who might betray him and his pledge as “a rat head in a Coke bottle”:
There are a lot of trillions of dollars lying around, and one particular lie comes in the form of the “Repatriation” “tax holiday” that would allow America’s wealthiest corporations to bring some money back to the United States of America whithout paying taxes and this giveaway is supposedly one of the GOP’s “Jobs Plans.”
There are a couple “repatriation” plans out there, one coming from Tea Partier Mike Lee and that one is co-sponsored by Kentucky’s gift to America, Mr. Rand Paul (see here and here). When those two team up, it’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen and even the conservative Heritage Institute could tell you about it:
This sequel to a similar 2004 holiday would, like its predecessor, have a minuscule effect on domestic investment and thus have a minuscule effect on the U.S. economy and job creation.
It’s important to point out that Rand Paul and Mike Lee aren’t the only ones trying to give billion dollar corporations a trillion dollar gift at a time when they least need it. The other proposal introduced by Sen. John McCain has gained the vocal support of the Blue Dog Democrat House coalition and while Ben Chandler hasn’t made his position clear, his buddies are all lined up.