FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Protecting Public Education from Corporate Tax Giveaways

The deepening federal and state budgets are causing cuts that affect the most defenseless and least powerful of Americans. That, of course is the direct consequence of plutocracy — rule by the wealthy. Their ownership and control of the nation’s private assets is growing while the poor and middle class are losing. The latest figures show wealth inequality is growing in America and is the worst in the western world.

If you’ve been reading the newspapers, you can see that the budget cuts are reducing health, education, housing, and many critical services for children. Safety programs are losing out. However, prisons are doing well, along with the welfare programs for the corporations.

Our politicians, with few exceptions, are not demanding that the cuts start FIRST with the corporate welfare programs and corporate tax escapes costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars yearly.

California is one — albeit big — example. Facing a deficit of over $25 billion this year, the state and its cities are being squeezed. Oakland and Alameda County are paying Al Davis’ Oakland Raiders NFL football franchise $25 million a year to service bonds issued to renovate the stadium and lure the Raiders from Los Angeles.

Oakland pays the $12.5 million of this sum. By contrast, the annual budget of the city’s library system is about this dollar amount and is facing sharp cuts. The Raiders only play 10 games a year there (including exhibitions) which hardly produce many jobs. To make matters worse, Al Davis is also suing Oakland and the County for $1.1 billion claiming they promised to guarantee a full stadium for every game. Imperiously, Davis orders television blackouts when the game is not sold out 72 hours before kickoff — an insensitive way to treat the taxpayers.

Corporate draining of the defenseless can be very direct. Pressuring or buying local officials to give tax abatements and other giveaways, these companies don’t even care when the losers are public school children. In a brand new report prepared by “Good Jobs First” — a non-profit group, called “Protecting Public Education from Tax Giveaways to Corporations,” data from the 50 states showed that letting companies off the property tax hook costs the schools who rely on that revenue much money. One hundred million dollars in Ohio alone!

The same game of tax escape is played with ruthless precision in all the states. Companies dangle office buildings, hotels, retail chain stores or factories before state development agencies and ask for bids. The bids are a race to the bottom for exempting or abating these companies from paying their fair share to support the communities’ services as do workers, homeowners, small businesses and others.

These companies are shameless freeloaders, not free enterprisers. They say they want good schools for their labor force and a good community for their employees, but they participate in depleting school budgets through their avaricious demands for more corporate welfare.

In conjunction with the National Education Association, Greg LeRoy, director of Good Jobs First, and author of the report, made three recommendations. First, improve disclosure of subsidies and enforce “clawback” provisions that require returning the subsidies given to developers “who have failed to meet their promises on jobs, wages, or capital investment.”

Second, give school boards a formal say, with veto power, over subsidy decision-making.

Third, state governments should “prohibit the abatement or diversion of the school portion of property taxes.” Today, only two states shield school funding from these subsidies.

Only two states enable school boards of elected members adequate participation in decisions about tax abatements and the diversion of tax increment financing.

Call or write Greg LeRoy (1311 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005) to find out where the corporate freeloaders are in your area so you can let them know that you know what they have gotten away with. This knowledge has many uses, including charity drives when these companies are asked to give to local charitable causes.

 

More articles by:
July 19, 2018
Rajai R. Masri
The West’s Potential Symbiotic Contributions to Freeing a Closed Muslim Mind
Jennifer Matsui
The Blue Pill Presidency
Ryan LaMothe
The Moral and Spiritual Bankruptcy of White Evangelicals
Paul Tritschler
Negative Capability: a Force for Change?
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: ‘Social Dialogue’ Reform Frustrations
Rev. William Alberts
A Well-Kept United Methodist Church Secret
Raouf Halaby
Joseph Harsch, Robert Fisk, Franklin Lamb: Three of the Very Best
George Ochenski
He Speaks From Experience: Max Baucus on “Squandered Leadership”
Ted Rall
Right Now, It Looks Like Trump Will Win in 2020
David Swanson
The Intelligence Community Is Neither
Andrew Moss
Chaos or Community in Immigration Policy
Kim Scipes
Where Do We Go From Here? How Do We Get There?
July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail