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Obama: Companies Shouldn’t Dodge Taxes

For Immediate Release

Statement of US PIRG Tax and Budget Associate Dan Smith on President Obama’s State of the Union Address.

“Addressing the nation tonight, President Obama rightly called attention to a tax code that is riddled with loopholes that allow wealthy special interests to shirk their tax burden at the expense of the public.

“With the help of armies of tax lawyers, too many large and profitable companies – from GE to Wells Fargo – stash their American profits in shell companies offshore. Profits legitimately made in America with the benefit of our educated workforce, large markets, and infrastructure end up on the books in the Cayman Islands. Small businesses and ordinary taxpayers are left to foot the bill in the form of higher taxes, fewer services, or more debt.

“Other loopholes let hedge fund managers pay lower taxes on their income then the rest of us.  There is no justification for giving Wall Street money managers a tax break just for doing their jobs.

“Special interests have long been able to use their power and resources to write the tax code in their favor. A recent U.S. PIRG report identified a “dirty thirty” set of corporations that paid more to lobby Congress than they did in federal income taxes. The schemes used by these corporate tax dodgers are perfectly legal, and that’s the problem.

“With Congress looking for ways to cut the deficit, our elected leaders should consider that ending tax haven abuse and closing the “carried interest” loophole for hedge fund managers would save $120 billion every year. Congress should take the first step towards a fairer tax code by passing Senator Levin’s Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act to end the most egregious corporate offshore tax games.”

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organization.

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