Jan 19 2012

“Dirty Thirty” Corporations Spend More On Lobbying Than Taxes

Feature Stories | Published 19 Jan 2012, 10:56 am | Comments Off on “Dirty Thirty” Corporations Spend More On Lobbying Than Taxes -

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Led by General Electric’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt, President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness released a report yesterday suggesting major changes to the US corporate tax code which they say would stimulate the economy and create jobs. The 27-member body recommends widening the corporate tax base and decreasing rates. It also suggests that the US change to a territorial corporate tax system, which would exempt most taxes on foreign income brought into the US. Those Council members in support of this argued that currently, to avoid taxation, US corporations invest less of their foreign income in the US than they would like to. Accounting Today reports that not all members agree that this shift will result in an economic stimulus and want safe-guards against more tax loopholes. It is not likely, though, that a body led by a General Electric CEO will make significant strides in increasing the corporate tax rate. In the three years before Jeffrey Immelt joined the President’s Council on Jobs in 2011, GE made over $10 billion in profit, spent $79 million on lobbying, and paid zero dollars in taxes. GE’s tax exploits have landed it on the 2008 – 2010 Dirty Thirty list of corporations that spent more money on lobbying than taxes over the three year period. US PIRG and Citizens for Tax Justice compiled the list as part of their joint report, “Representation Without Taxation: Fortune 500 Companies that Spend Big on Lobbying and Avoid Taxes.” GE is not the only household name that made it onto the Dirty Thirty list. Verizon Communications secured a spot for receiving tax rebates from the government while spending $52 million on lobbying over three years. Wells Fargo also rang in a negative tax rate and spent $11 million to influence Congress. PG&E, the energy giant responsible for a natural gas pipeline explosion in Northern California that killed eight people, is also on the list. From 2008 to 2010 PG&E spent $70 million to lobby Congress, raked in over $4 billion in profit and paid zero dollars in taxes.

GUEST: Blair Bowie, Democracy Advocate at US PIRG

Click here to download the report.

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