by Tim Walker
As state governments struggle with bleak fiscal outlooks in 2012 and drastic budget cuts continue to take affect, many citizens still assume that lawmakers have tapped into every available source of revenue. Still, a creeping sense that not everyone has been paying their fair share has shifted the conversation.
Widespread news coverage in 2011 of Wall Street shenanigans, the growing income gap and the shrinking middle class has heightened public awareness of the disproportionate burden placed on working families – while corporations exploit loopholes in the tax code to avoid any shared responsibility. President Obama proposed closing some corporate tax loopholes to help pay for his job plan and is expected to make tax fairness a central issue in his reelection campaign.
A recent report by the Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) reveals why so many Americans are outraged. The study shows that states may have lost a significant amount in corporate tax revenue during the peak recession years of 2008-2010. In analyzing the tax returns of 265 of the richest S&P 500 corporations during those years, the CTJ and ITEP found that the companies reported $1.33 trillion in domestic profits, but paid states only about half of what they would have if they had paid at the average corporate income tax rate of all states. The report also found that 68 corporations reported paying zero state corporate taxes in at least one year between 2008 and 2010.
“What we’re talking about here is a class of multi-state and multi-national tax dodgers,” says Susan Kennedy, a tax attorney and manager for Education Funding and Revenue at the Alabama Education Association.
Read the full story at NEAToday.org.